National dialogue team unveils report with proposals to reduce cost of living, reform electoral system

National Dialogue committee co-chairs Kimani Ichungwa and Kalonzo Musyoka during the unveiling of the committee report in Nairobi. [Dennis Kavisu]

The National Dialogue Committee (NADCO)  unveiled its report on Saturday, November 25 with a number of recommendations, including proposals to reduce the cost of living, audit the 2022 electoral process, and restructure the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The Committee, which comprises representatives from the Kenya Kwanza Government and the Azimio coalition, has been able to build consensus on a majority of issues.

However, there is a divergent opinion on a few issues that have been referred to the leadership of the two coalitions for further consideration.

On electoral justice and related matters, NADCO has recommended the evaluation of the 2022 electoral process, the establishment of an expanded selection panel for the IEBC commissioners, the increase of timelines for the resolution of presidential election petitions, and the postponement of legal reforms passed less than 18 months before the general elections.

On the cost of living, NADCO has recommended that all arms of government reduce their travel budgets by 50 per cent and that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission review daily subsistence allowances for state and public officers with a view to reducing them by 30 per cent.

The committee also proposes that the national government finalize the transfer of all devolved functions and provide for the concomitant resources to the county governments.

The dialogue team further proposes that Parliament amend the Constitution to provide for an equitable share of the county governments, not less than 20 per cent of all revenue collected by the national government.

However, the committee was unable to reach a consensus on a number of other proposals on the matter of cost of living, including the reduction of VAT on fuel from 16 per cent to 8 per cent and the scrapping of the housing levy, the twin issues in the Finance Act 2023.

On the entrenchment of funds into the Constitution, NADCO has recommended the entrenchment of the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF), the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), and the Senate Oversight Fund.

NADCO further recommends the establishment of the Ward Development Fund by statute.

On the establishment and entrenchment of state offices, NADCO has recommended the establishment of the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition, who is the leader of the largest party or coalition of political parties that garnered the second-greatest number of votes in the immediately preceding presidential elections with two deputies.

NADCO further recommends the establishment of the Office of Prime Minister to be nominated and, upon approval by the National Assembly, appointed by the President.

On the fidelity of the law on multiparty democracy, NADCO has recommended the establishment of the Independent Political Parties Regulatory Commission as an independent body that shall be responsible for the registration of political parties and their office holders and the management of political parties’ funds, a role currently vested in the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.

The report has been shared electronically with President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga for their endorsement before being subjected to a referendum.

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