Drawback on bipartisan talks as Azimio team fails to show up

Bipartisan committee co-chair, George Murugara. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Bipartisan committee co-chair, George Murugara has affirmed that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection process will continue as scheduled.

This comes in the aftermath of the Azimio coalition team’s absence from a meeting convened by Murugara at the Bomas of Kenya on Tuesday, July 4.

The bipartisan committee’s top agenda was finding a solution to the mode of selection of the new IEBC commissioners.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Murugara described Azimio’s behaviour as an act of defiance and political posturing.

"The lack of communication and the absence of Azimio members during the talks are clear indications that they lack confidence in the process. However, despite this setback, we remain steadfast in our belief that the IEBC selection process should move forward as planned," stated Murugara.

The Tharaka Nithi MP reiterated the Kenya Kwanza team's commitment to maintaining an open dialogue with Azimio, despite the challenges encountered.

"We recognize the significance of addressing their concerns and seeking common ground. Therefore, we emphasize our dedication to engaging with them and working towards resolutions that benefit all parties involved," he added.

“We kindly request that Azimio refrains from participating in political posturing. It is essential to focus on constructive discussions and finding mutually beneficial solutions that will ultimately serve the interests of the people. Let us prioritize meaningful dialogue over political manoeuvres for the greater good of our nation.”

Murugara’s statement comes days after Azimio Chief Raila Odinga declared the coalition's withdrawal from the bipartisan talks. Speaking at a public rally held last week at Kamkunji grounds, Odinga announced July 7, popularly known as Saba Saba, as the date for anti-government protests and civil disobedience.

"Ruto is testing whether we still possess the determination, energy, and resolve to combat the resurgence of dictatorship. After stealing our elections last year, he [Ruto] now believes he can pilfer anything and escape unpunished. We must put a stop to him, and we must do it now," stated Odinga.

"What occurred last week is not merely about the Finance Act; it signifies the reappearance of a dictatorship. We are all aware of Mr. (William) Ruto and (Rigathi) Gachagua's intentions,” he continued.

Azimio has announced that the civil disobedience will involve a refusal to pay taxes, aiming to pressure President Ruto into repealing the Finance Act 2023. The opposition has also disclosed its plans to initiate a mass signature collection campaign, symbolizing the withdrawal of its sovereignty from the government.