It was a waste; leaders say of Raila-Ruto talks report

National Dilaogue Committee Co-chairs Kalonzo Musyoka and Kimani Ichungwah. [Courtesy] 

The release of the long-awaited report by the National Dialogue Committee (NDC), promising potential recommendations to alleviate the high cost of living, has sparked swift and critical reactions.

Leaders from Kenya Kwanza and the Opposition rejected the report, with some stating it was a waste of resources. President William Ruto, on the other hand, declared that the recommendations will be implemented.

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua said the report had done little to address the rising cost of living caused by the Kenya Kwanza government's aggressive tax regime.

"Any purported agreement that does not immediately impact on the cost of living, electoral justice, and respect for multiparty democracy is a fraud on the people and must be rejected," said Karua.

Referendum calls

Some MPs from Mt Kenya promised to shoot down the recommendations that call for a referendum.

Following 90 days of discussions between the opposition and government representatives, the committee's efforts to reach a consensus on the matter of the cost of living fell short.

Despite dedicating nearly a month to deliberations involving economic experts and engaging twice with Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung'u, the committee was unable to find common ground on addressing the pressing issue of the cost of living.

The committee failed to agree on a proposal by the Azimio side to scrap the Housing Levy or make it voluntary, and on the reduction of VAT from 16 per cent to eight per cent.

The two issues have now been left to Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga, and Parliament to decide how to progress once they receive the report.

However, there was consensus on suggestions to reduce the anti-adulteration and road maintenance levies.

Cost of living

Karua has been vocal in the weeks leading up to the committee's operational deadline, saying the failure of the talks to address the rising cost of living will inevitably force the opposition to exercise their civil rights through demonstrations.

"We are saying, should the talks fail as they are looking to fail, we shall not forego our rights. We are going to exercise our civil and political rights to the fullest. Ours is to give notice of intention," Karua said last week.

The committee further proposed that government travel budgets be reduced by 50 per cent and asked the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to reduce subsistence allowances (per diem) by 30 per cent.


Speaking at the Priesthood Fellowship Church in Kahawa West, Nairobi, yesterday, Ruto said the recommendations will be implemented.

"All the recommendations made by the bipartisan dialogue team are practical," the president said.

He added that parliament will have to deliberate on issues touching on the legislature, but he will "not hesitate" to implement recommendations that touch on the executive.

The NDC agreed on the creation of the position of the official Opposition leader with two deputies and entrenching the currently existing Prime Cabinet Secretary office into law.

A section of MPs from Mt Kenya led by Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro threatened to shoot down some recommendations from the report that call for a referendum. 

"It is evident that the activities of the 2003 and 2005 referendums and other elections slowed down economic growth," Nyoro said.

Similarly, the proposals to introduce new state offices have drawn criticism online, with Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) alleging that the outcome of the talks only benefited the political class and had nothing to offer to Kenyans.

"As expected, the National Dialogue outcome is all about jobs for the big boys. The economy is on the back burner," said former Mandera Central MP Billow Kerrow in a post on X.

According to the committee's framework of agreement, the fate of the agreed and disagreed issues now rests in parliament.