Kimani Ichung'wah: Government, Opposition dialogue will be an open process

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’wah has assured that the ongoing conversation on the bipartisan approach to a selection panel for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be an open process.

The Kikuyu Member of Parliament, in an interview with Spice FM on Tuesday, April 4, said the dialogue between President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga was a welcome move and one they are hoping will yield fruitful negotiations. 

Ichung’wah was among parliamentary leaders that Ruto met on Monday, April 3 to discuss a framework for the bipartisan approach to the issues Azimio had raised, and those recommended by the President.

“The dialogue is a welcome move. As leaders we should engage on matters that concern the people in Parliament,” said Ichung’wah.

“Even in this process, the public interest must override everything. The political interest is heavy because it is a politician-driven agenda,” he added.

He further said they will form an ad-hoc committee to listen to and address the concerns raised.

“There is the president’s proposal and a counter-proposal from the minority. We met yesterday (Monday, April 3) to sieve what is doable and what isn’t under the current laws, and if there are any changes that need to be made to any laws, we look into it,” said Ichung’wah.

Azimio is expected to hold a Parliamentary Group meeting on Thursday, April 6, in Machakos to discuss President Ruto’s recommendations, while Kenya Kwanza will hold theirs before Tuesday, April 11.

“We have told our colleagues on the other side, the place for them to deal with issues of cost of living is not in the streets but on the floor of Parliament. You can’t raise taxation issues in the streets,” he said.

He reiterated that the dialogue will be an open process, centering on the interests of the people. The MP also said civil society organisations have been invited to voice their thoughts.

“Whatever decision will be made, will be a collective one by the committees that will be there on behalf of the House. If the House agrees with the committee, then they approve whatever is brought before them.”

On Sunday, Opposition leader Raila Odinga called off the weekly demonstrations, heeding a call for dialogue from the president.

Among the issues of contention Azimio brought to the fore include the high cost of living, electoral injustices, and the reinstatement of four IEBC commissioners.