DP leads onslaught on talks amid caution Mt Kenya might miss out

He said the "important dialogue" for him and President William Ruto was subsidising the cost of production like fertiliser, construction of roads and water projects.

"I called Aaron Cheruiyot four times yesterday but he could not pick my calls because he was in talks, later on I told him that the so called talks that they take pride in will come to an end and they find us way ahead in initiation of development projects," said Gachagua during the funeral service for David Chekwony, husband of Njoro MP Charity Kathambi.

Cheruiyot, who is the Senate Majority Leader, is among the leaders representing the Kenya Kwanza administration in the bi-partisan talks which are jointly being spearheaded by the government led by National Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa and Opposition led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

While Gachagua was dismissing the talks in Njoro, Ichung'wa and his Minority counterpart Opiyo Wandayi were tabling a Motion in Parliament to legalise the National Dialogue Committee.

Akin to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), the committee will recommend suitable, constitutional, legal and policy reforms concerning matters significant to Kenyans and will invite stakeholders, experts and Kenyans for their opinions.

It appears that Mt Kenya leaders are cautious of political ramifications that may befall the region.

Mathira MP Eric wa Mumbi told The Standard that he does not see importance of the dialogue and why it was being anchored in law, arguing that all the issues that have been listed for talks can be sorted out by Parliament.

"I don't see the value and reason of the dialogue. I also don't understand why the legitimately elected government is holding talks with the people we defeated in last year's General Election. All the agenda listed for talks are the preserve of Parliament," he said.

The MP maintained that the Opposition should give them a chance to serve the country and wait for 2027 to campaign on the platform of Kenya Kwanza failures.

Despite Azimio constantly denying that they were not interested in joining the Ruto administration, the leaders insist that the talks a ploy for a "handshake" between the Opposition leader Raila Odinga and the President.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. [PCS, Standard]

Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, a member of the technical team, said their ultimate goal in Azimio will be a referendum.

However, Kioni cautioned that Mt Kenya would be the biggest loser if leaders failed to push for the regio's interests, citing the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling call.

"The difference between the issues that we shall push and those contained in the BBI is the same only that our region will lose. We were duped to believe BBI was evil, but we may coin a new name such as Mama Mboga Initiative," he said.

Governance expert Joshua Irungu, who is inclined to Kenya Kwanza, also said the discourse is likely to end up to a referendum, and cautioned Mt Kenya leaders both from government and the Opposition to shelve their differences and prioritise their region.

"In politics, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Leaders from Mt Kenya region who are in the dialogue must take that into account and push for one-man-one-vote-one-shilling and the minimum guaranteed returns for our agricultural crops," he said.

Governance expert Gitile Naituli said the leader fear losing political relevance. "The fears are normal but if the architects of the National Dialogue Committee (the President and Raila) will have a political goodwill, then those teething issues will be addressed. The two need not to be held hostage by their allies," he said.