Azimio stands firm on its list of issues

Written by on 2 August 2023

Azimio La Umoja principals and lawmakers yesterday demanded that the issue of police brutality and cost of living must be among the issues to be discussed in the yet to be formed ten-member dialogue team.

They also demanded that President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza administration names its five-member team to the mediation table as a sign of goodwill and honesty.

The leaders Raila Odinga of ODM, Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), his Roots Party counterpart Prof George Wajackoya, Party of National Unity (PNU) leader Peter Munya and Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, in a consultative meeting, told their troops to stand firm on the issues tabled for mediation.

While telling their troops to rally behind the mediation team with Kenya Kwanza, Raila is said to have explained why the cost of living, police brutality, audit of the 2022 polls, formation of the electoral agency and raiding of political parties will be the irreducible minimum points of negotiations.

Yesterday, sources told People Daily that the members were categorical that the issue of police brutality and cost of living must be dealt with conclusively.

The meeting comes after Azimio leadership named Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka as the team leader in the dialogue alongside, Democratic Action Party leader Eugene Wamalwa, National Assembly Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and Malindi lawmaker Amina Mnyazi.

Pokot South MP David Pkosing told People Daily that the members insisted that Kenya Kwanza cannot dictate to them on what not to bring to the table, adding that negotiations on the reduction of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products from the current 16 per cent should be discussed.

According to Pkosing, the increase in VAT on petroleum products has in effect increased the cost of living, which is out of reach for majority of Kenyans.

“Kenya Kwanza cannot tell us that we will not discuss the cost of living because that will be discussing their manifesto. The increase of VAT on fuel has increased the cost of living for everyone. We must discuss it with a view of amending the Finance Act,” charged Pkosing.

The second term legislator who attended the meeting at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation (JOOF) further disclosed that apart from cost of living, the team cannot dialogue on the bipartisan formation of the electoral agency if they do not address the audit of the 2022 polls.

Pkosing stated that the parliamentary group insisted that the cost of living, police brutality, audit of the 2022 polls and raiding of the political parties are some of the irreducible minimums.

In addition, Pkosing claimed that the biggest impediment to peace and unity of the country is Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who he alleged has held the President at hostage.

Without tabling any evidence, Pkosing claimed that the DP and his close lieutenants seem to be blackmailing the Head of State, adding that President Ruto should take charge if the dialogue will succeed or not.

Makueni Senator Dan Maanzo supported Pkosing saying that the issue of police brutality must be put as a priority, adding that some families of the victims are still struggling with even getting government documents to bury their kin.

Maanzo charged that where there will be contentious issues on police brutality, then a public inquest should be opened so that all the culprits and the police officers who used excessive force to carry their burden.

“The families of the victims of police brutality must be facilitated to get the government documents and have post-mortem done as a matter of priority to allow them bury their kin. We will allow IPOA to undertake their investigations and where there is contention, then a public inquest should take place,” said Maanzo.

Maanzo further disclosed that the members agreed that if Kenya Kwanza is really genuine in its desire to have a dialogue with them, then they should move with speed and name their five-member team to kick-start the negotiations.

However, Kenya Kwanza has dismissed the inclusion of cost of living in to the talks with National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa stating that there was a consensus between the President and Raila that agreed that it is the prerogative of the government to address such issues.

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