Azimio wants bipartisan talks finished in 30 days

Azimio Party leaders walk to the venue before they addressed the media on bipartisan talks at SKM Centre on May 4, 2023. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Azimio leaders on Thursday met the seven members of the bipartisan talks committee to debrief and issue fresh instructions after they called off anti-government protests.

The meeting attended by Azimio leader Raila Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Roots party leader George Wajackoyah, resolved to approach the talks with "clean hands" and in the country's best interests.

"We have also instructed our delegates to make it clear that we want these talks concluded in 30 days from the date of commencement," said Democratic Action Party-Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa.

The coalition’s decision to go back to the bilateral talks comes after the Kenya Kwanza team agreed to recuse Eldas MP Adan Keynan from the bipartisan committee.

Keynan, who has since declared support for President William Ruto's coalition, is a member of the Jubilee Party which is affiliated to Azimio. Kenya Kwanza announced they have replaced Keynan with Saku MP Dido Rasso.

The Azimio leaders reiterated that they will not participate in power-sharing agreements with Kenya Kwanza, which they view as an illegitimate regime.

The Azimio team is expected to participate in the bilateral talks with their Kenya Kwanza counterparts to address the opposition's demands for reduced cost of living, forensic audit of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers, reconstitution of the electoral commission, among other issues.

The opposition has also stated that the scope of talks should be expanded to allow the participation of players from outside Parliament.

“Such a structure, in our view, will create an avenue for the inclusion of other outstanding constitutional issues to be canvassed in the talks. We have instructed our delegates to raise this,” said Wamalwa.

Similarly, Azimio has demanded the unconditional release of youths arrested and charged in court on "trumped-up" charges, ahead of the talks.

The party has accused certain government officials of engaging in acts of violence and intimidation against their members, claiming that "mercenaries" affiliated to the Kenya Kwanza party were responsible for disrupting peaceful protests on Tuesday.

They also alleged that assassins have been hired to target Azimio leaders and protesters.

Azimio leadership said they will not tolerate attempts to intimidate or harm their members and warned that they will resort to "alternative measures" if the talks do not proceed in good faith.