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Wandayi: Nadco report to be implemented despite Azimio, Kenya Kwanza differences

 National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi has intimated that the National Dialogue Committee (Nadco) report will be implemented by the 4th quarter of this year.

Wandayi said the first steps to kick start the process of actualizing the negotiated document will be for the National Assembly and the Senate to discuss and adopt the report next month.

The Minority Leader disclosed that while the government and the Opposition teams have agreed to establish the office of the Official Leader of the Opposition and to entrench that of the Prime Cabinet Secretary they differed on the approach.

“The Kenya Kwanza’s view, which to us is a stop-gap measure, is that we establish the two offices in the Constitution but the holders operate outside Parliament so as to avoid the referendum route,” he said.

Article 255 (h) of the Constitution dictates that any proposal that would affect the operations of Parliament must be subjected to a referendum, a move that the Kenya Kwanza administration seems to sidestep by proposing that the proposed office bearers serve outside Parliament.

However, Azimio wants the proposed office bearers to serve in Parliament and the matter to be subjected to a referendum.

“Azimio holds the view that if we were to create such offices it would make sense that the office holders have a role in Parliament so that the Prime Minister is the leader of the government in Parliament while the leader of the opposition leads the opposition troops,” he said.

Be that as it may, Wandayi emphasized that the Opposition and the government will not be involved in a political duel as whether or not the due process will have been adhered to will be left to the courts.

“The more we take time to implement the report, the more the electorate whose representatives died will stay without electing new ones. For now, IEBC is not functional because out of the committee, the IEBC recruitment panel stopped and for the process to start, the IEBC Act must be amended,” he said.

After the adoption of the report, the Minority Leader said, Nadco members will harmoniously initiate statutory and constitutional amendments like the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Act and Article 103 of the Political Parties Act to instill party discipline among others.

The Ugunja MP, in an exclusive interview with The Standard, revealed that the Opposition and the government reached consensus that there will be no efforts to mutilate the document in both Houses.

“The committee was established in response to the prevailing situation then. The country was on tenterhooks and was essentially on a precipice when the demos had reached the crescendo the country was becoming ungovernable and the economy had taken a nose dive. Everything seemed not to be working in the country," he said.

“Such a report; a negotiated settlement of disputes would ordinarily be supported by all the parties in dispute and would require a bipartisan approach in terms of dealing with it in Parliament and beyond. There will be no attempt to water down or otherwise interfere with the letter and spirit of the report in Parliament,” he added.

Wandayi, who was the Deputy Co-chairperson of the dialogue team downplayed the opposition to the report by among others members of  Azimio led by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Jubilee party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni. He said that what mattered was that the report had been approved by the Azimio summit.

According to Karua, the report failed to address three issues pertinent to the Azimio among them the cost of living, audit of the 2022 General Election, and respect for political parties and multiparty democracy.

“While concluding in the Nadco Report, we have to say, it has done nothing to alleviate the suffering of citizens but it offers goodies to the leadership. This is totally unacceptable. It is a fraud upon Kenyans. It should be frowned upon and rejected. It is a distracting national smokescreen,” she said.

But Wandai said: “You can’t stop people from making their opinions however controversial they might be and you can’t stop people from harbouring divergent opinions. The report was adopted in its entirety by the Azimio summit and subsequently by the Azimio parliamentary group.”

On claims that the Legislature had gone to bed with the Executive, the Minority Leader called for more civic education on MPs on roles, saying most look for handouts from the Executive on misplaced notions of seeking development to the President.

“While it is obvious that any President would want a weaker Parliament, it beats the logic that some MPs claim they go to the Executive to secure development while budget making function belongs exclusively to Parliament and the development can only be implemented once the budget is provided,” he told The Standard.

Wandayi however, reiterated the Minority’s commitment to hold the government to account in the wake of Parliament’s capture by the Executive adding that it was no longer about the question of winning votes but raising their voice on the pertinent issues in the country.

“It is no longer a question of winning votes in Parliament but being able to canvass very strongly the issues that we feel are pertinent to the public and that we have done clearly, unambiguously, unequivocally and consistently on the floor of the House because records in Parliament are permanent and when history is history is written it must be established that we stood in the right side,” he said.

The ODM MP refuted claims that his party leader Raila Odinga was silent at a time Kenyans grappled with the high cost of living saying that he has continually raised concerns but at the same time claiming ‘silence is sometimes the best mode of communication.’

“Raila has been consistent throughout his political life and he also believes in collegiate leadership that’s why when the ODM party organs issue statements he needs not to belabor the point,” he said.

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