Why William Ruto, Raila Odinga should rein in their troops

President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga. [Standard]

The ongoing public outbursts by leaders associated with President William Ruto and opposition chief Raila Odinga in regard to the bipartisan talks are very unfortunate.

At this rate, I have serious doubts whether anything good will come out of the negotiations.

It will be difficult to address the grievances that ought to be deliberated on such as the high cost of living that is of concern to all Kenyans given the highly charged environment fuelled by the strong positions the parties hold.

To discern that things will be thick, you just have to listen to the public statements made by politicians perceived to be close to the former prime minister and rejoinders by their Kenya Kwanza coalition counterparts.

For the talks to succeed, they will need strong leadership from both teams and clear terms of reference on how the entire process will be conducted from the start to the end.

It is very important for President Ruto and Mr Odinga to rein in their troops as the process starts so that they do not lose focus but concentrate on the important matters at hand.

Kenyans will judge President Ruto and the former premier harshly if they take a hands-off approach on the issue and allow their lieutenants to ruin the noble process by politicising it.

Staunch supporters

Already, we have a section of the country that has been made to strongly believe that the current negotiations and demands by opposition are a ploy by the Odinga-led side to get to power through the back door.

If such a narrative is allowed to fester, it will not be good for the country, considering that we have staunch supporters of the opposition chief who also hold views that strongly contradict those of individuals who back Kenya Kwanza.

It is unfortunate that we are at this stage as a country. It is unfortunate because the bipartisan model is the best way to resolve some of the issues the Azimio side has been raising.

Parliament is a law-making body in our country, and it is also one of the three arms of government. By mainstreaming its role in the governance issues, the House will go a long way in strengthening and building its institutional capacity.

Just like during the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group of 1997, the House should be supported by all Kenyans who mean well for the country to midwife the bipartisan talks.

Any other support from outside should be channelled towards strengthening the role of Parliament in these talks.

Dr Wekesa is a researchassociate at African Leadership Centre, King's College London

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