Azimio gives raft of issues they need addressed

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Azimio la umoja One Kenya coalition has announced a raft of issues they intend to push the national government to address from January 2023.

The Azimio leader of the minority in the National assembly, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said as Kenyans cross into the new year with a sense of foreboding, they are anxious, restless and uncertain about what the next day holds.

He said they intend to push for a clear road map for upward economic mobility and well-thought-out interventions that will ensure long-term and sustainable upward economic mobility of the people of Kenya.

Speaking in Kisumu town where he addressed the media, Wandayi said they are concerned that too many Kenyans are stuck at the bottom.

Wandayi explained that too many Kenyans are working too hard yet they are stuck in extreme poverty and so it is time for the country to have a national public discussion aimed at reviewing the minimum wage and Azimio is willing to lead the debate in 2023.

“Too many feel the odds are against them and that however hard they try, nothing works. Too many Kenyans are being left to the mercy of relatives and neighbors while the government shuns responsibility,” he said.

He said that the uncertainties of Kenyans are of concern to Azimio and they will be at the core of their agenda in the Legislature in the New Year.

The coalition will also be pushing for the cost of management of education where they claim there is a total lack of clarity at the ministry of education.

“Whether fees have gone up or not is unclear. The place of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) graduates and what their exam means is not clear. Whether the government will continue funding public universities is not clear. With regard to school fees, we will follow up to ensure no child misses a place in high school, college or university because of school fees. High school education was also substantially subsidized in the last regime,” he said.

Wandayi added: “The Ruto regime has removed the subsidy but insists that fees remain the same. We are going to demand the full reinstatement of the subsidy. We are going to demand a review of the university students’ loan regime to ensure it is in tune with the prevailing economic circumstances.”

Azimio also said they will prioritize workers’ welfare and especially take a very keen interest in the grievances of university lecturers and school teachers over pay.

“If there is merit in their quest for improved salaries, as we are inclined to believe, we will make their issues ours as well. Overall, we are going to take a very keen interest in matters pertaining to collective bargaining and minimum wage, not only among university lecturers and school teachers but among all people in employment."

He said Wage must walk in tandem with the prevailing economic environment. "We want to ensure our collective bargaining laws are progressive and work as they’re supposed to and that trade unions are empowered to organize and secure a good deal for workers."

The minority leader also said they will be looking into a modern and professional service where they are going to demand fair, equitable and merit-based appointments and promotions in the public service.

He argued that no public officer should be sacked or denied promotion just because they do not share the mother tongue with the president or because they served in the previous administration.

MP Wandayi also noted that Azimio will be demanding for the reinstatement of social protection programs that he claimed the Ruto’s government took away.

He added that they will also focus on the push for the protection of farmers and electoral reforms.

“The government is hell-bent on importing maize, rice and sugar. We are going to demand that this must not happen at the expense of our sugar cane farmers and factories."

He said the Government must not leave maize and rice farmers stuck in debt. "It is clear that the existing electoral laws and procedures have not produced an electoral system that most Kenyans could regard as transparent, accountable and democratic."