Raila mulls fresh protests amid talks impasse at parley

Written by on 29 November 2023

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has once again hinted at the possible resumption of mass protests, if the contentious issues the coalition raised with the State at Bomas bipartisan talks are not addressed.

“We are meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. After going through the report, thereafter we will give direction on the way forward if it falls short of the our concerns,” the former Prime Minister said in Kisumu yesterday.

Raila reiterated that Azimio stopped its weekly protests to give the government a chance through dialogue but if President William Ruto’s administration fails to do so, or if they do not co-operate, the Opposition coalition will not hesitate to declare a new method  of airing grievances.

Azimio leadership had, among other things, proposed a reduction in the cost of living, an audit of the 2022 General Election servers, Bipartisan reconstitution of the IEBC, as well as its inclusion in national affairs and political parties reforms.

So far, the dialogue team has recommended resolving Constitutional matters, Electoral justice and related affairs, Entrenching Senate, Ward and NGCDF funds into the Constitution, establishment and entrenchment of some State offices, and Fidelity to Political Parties/Coalitions and the law on multiparty democracy.

But even as the Committee (NADCO) made some of the radical proposals, the Azimio leadership warned of a return to the streets if the key issues that prompted the talks were not rationalised as they expected.

Dialogue team

The Kenya Kwanza team is led by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa and comprises his Senate counterpart Aaron Cheruiyot, Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, EALA MP Hassan Omar and Bungoma Woman Rep Catherine Wambilianga.

The Azimio dialogue team is led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, DAP-Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa, Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Nyamira Senator Okongo Omogeni and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi.

Raila spoke in Kisumu, where he launched a fresh ODM recruitment drive for young people who had acquired IDs.

His statements come amid building anxiety and tension across the political divide, with some opposition leaders expressing reservations about the NADCO resolutions.

Yesterday, NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua, who is  Azimio co-principal, warned of a revolt in the event the NADCO resolutions overlooks the problems affecting the common man focusing on power polarity politics.

Karua, while seemingly distancing herself from the agreement reached between the 10-member committee on key issues before NADCO, said any deal that does not immediately impact the cost of living, electoral justice and multi-party democracy is a fraud and must be rejected.

“Any purported agreement that does not immediately impact on cost of living, electoral justice and respect for multiparty democracy is a fraud on the people and must be rejected,” Karua, who maintains that President William Ruto rigged last year’s polls, said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) upon reading leaked report by NADCO in the local dailies.

Return to streets

Raila yesterday, appeared to follow suit, backing her statement and hinting that the Opposition is ready to return to the streets in protests if bipartisan talks between Kenya Kwanza and the Azimio la Umoja coalition fail to yield expected results.

Karua, the Azimio co-principal is on record urging Kenyans to assert their civil, political, and human rights fully, stating that even in the face of potential adversity during protests, they won’t compromise their rights.

“Even if we are transported to heaven during demonstrations, NARC Kenya and the people of Kenya are saying that should the talks fail us because they look like they are failing, we shall not forgo our rights, and we shall go back to the streets if necessary,” she stated.

Minority leader in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi, and Otiende Amollo(Rarieda) and Nominated MP Catherine Mumma, also present termed the people as sovereign and their issues must rank fast in NADCO.

The Governors, MPs, MCAs, were tasked by Wandayi to take the front lead to register people in their respective electoral turfs, to amass the bargaining numbers.

Raila has offlate been leading recruitment drives to enlist new members of the party, personally upon sensing imminent and relentless forays by United Democratic Alliance (UDA), party to Nyanza, arguably the dominant Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party zone.

ODM has now been shaken into action, working hard now to consolidate its grassroots democracy with Raila taking it upon himself to build the party at the grassroots.

Raila said the recruitment drive will culminate in grassroots elections in March 2024 and subsequently the ODM National elections. The National elections will also lead to the National Delegates Convention (NDC) where the members are set to elect its national officials. Registration is also being conducted online to reach out to a wider mass.

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