Azimio and Kenya Kwanza Ditches Bipartisan Talks

Ongoing talks between government and Opposition leaders seeking to end a political impasse arising from last year’s disputed presidential election failed to take off on Monday after both sides kept off the venue.

Representatives of President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party kept off the negotiations, held under the auspices of the National Dialogue Committee, as the rival factions played a game of wait-and-see with each other.

The committee is co-chaired by Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (Azimio) and Kikuyu MP and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah representing Kenya Kwanza.

According to the team’s schedule for yesterday, Kenya Kwanza was slated to make its presentation after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel with Azimio coming next. 

However, when the time for Kenya Kwanza came, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot was heard off record saying that his coalition had sought more time and that it will be making its presentation today (Tuesday).

After learning of Kenya Kwanza’s move, Azimio sought a similar postponement. Ruling party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary-General Cleophas Malala, who was to appear before the committee on behalf of Kenya Kwanza, did not respond to our queries regarding the sudden change of heart. Suna MP Junet Mohammed, the Azimio SG, also did not respond.

But even as this unfolded, former Attorney-General Amos Wako has put up a strong case for a hybrid system in the constitution of the country’s electoral body as he pushed for a legislation to make it mandatory for the opening of servers immediately after the presidential election result is declared.

This, he said, will instill confidence among Kenyans on the credibility of the process and that the data gathered will help in the filing of election petitions.

Mr Wako, who is the former Busia Senator, dismissed calls by Azimio for an audit of the 2022 presidential election results “as the matter was settled by the Supreme Court of Kenya.”

Mr Wako made his case known yesterday while appearing before the National Dialogue Committee sitting at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi. He said that the current system of constituting the seven-member IEBC may not be the best as it is fraught with sycophancy.

He proposed that some IEBC commissioners be nominated by two or three major political parties and others recruited through the selection panel. This proposal heavily borrows from the Inter-parties Parliamentary Group (IPPG) model of 1997.

While supporting an audit of the electoral process, he said: “If doubts over an election are not cleared, it could erode public confidence in future elections.”