Azimio tells Kenya Kwanza to stop spreading propaganda over talks

Azimio leader Raila Odinga speaks during a press conference at the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (SKM) Command Centre in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leadership on Tuesday told the government to desist from spreading misinformation saying this will only curtail the benefits expected from the talks.

Addressing a press conference at the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (SKM) Command Centre in Nairobi, Azimio leader Raila Odinga asked Kenya Kwanza to stop misleading the public that the opposition is plotting to secure another handshake.

"We urge Kenya Kwanza to cease propagating vitriol, for it will yield no results... Azimio is not interested in a handshake but we have agreed to negotiate in good faith so that we can be able to move our country from where it is today towards peace," said Raila.

Nevertheless, the opposition has expressed readiness for the talks with Kenya Kwanza.

“It requires both courage and open-mindedness to find common ground in times of conflict. We have conveyed to our delegation, and wish to communicate to all Kenyans, that engaging in sincere dialogue is not an act of surrender or weakness,” said Raila.

Despite a failed attempt at talks through the bipartisan committee Azimio now commits to negotiating in good faith to comprehensively address the nation's challenges. The leaders called for transparency, respect, and expediency in the talks.

To bolster their representation and engagement during the talks, Azimio has established a technical and legal team, led by Jubilee Party Secretary General, Jeremiah Kioni.

This team's role is to provide expertise and support to the delegation during the dialogue, ensuring that the discussions are well-informed and focused on achieving tangible outcomes.

The legal team will be led by lawyer Paul Mwangi while Adams Oloo will be in charge of the technical team.

Raila was accompanied by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, DAP-K leader Eugene Wamalwa, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Jubilee Party Secretary General Kioni, Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, former Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria among other leaders.

The opposition maintained that their issues include the cost of living, audit of the 2022 presidential election results, restructuring and reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, measures to prevent interference with political parties, and addressing outstanding constitutional matters.

However, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah who will lead the Kenya Kwanza team in the talks declared that they will not address the cost of living and audit of presidential election results.

“Regarding the audit of last year's election, that was extensively conducted by the Supreme Court. The supposed matter of inclusivity is merely an attempt to enter the government through the backdoor, and that is an unrealistic prospect,”  said Ichung’wah.

“We will not permit any disruption to our plans for fulfilling the commitments we made during the election campaign. Our determination remains unswerving, and we are fully prepared for any engagement,” he added.

Despite the differences over the issues for talks, Azimio and Kenya Kwanza have expressed willingness to engage in the talks.

Azimio continues to extend condolences to families who lost their kin in the anti-government protests and expressed gratitude to Kenyans who have contributed to the benevolence fund.

“It is our fervent resolve to ensure justice for the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable,” said Raila.

Talks between the government and opposition are expected to commence today at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, exactly one year after last year's General Election. It is also the same place the collapsed Bilateral talks were conducted.