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Azimio la Umoja endorses dialogue report, Raila says it is a good start

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Azimio la Umoja endorses dialogue report, Raila says it is a good start

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition parliamentary group meeting has endorsed the report of the National Dialogue Committee, which was formed to address the contentious issues that arose after the 2022 general elections. The meeting, which was held on Monday at the Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (SKM) Center in Nairobi, was attended by Azimio leader Raila Odinga and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Martha Karua (Narc Kenya) and Eugene Wamalwa (DAP-K).

The National Dialogue Committee was established in September 2022 by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi, following a request by President William Ruto and Raila Odinga to initiate a bipartisan dialogue process to resolve the political impasse and foster national unity. The committee comprised of 14 members drawn from both the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition and the opposition Azimio la Umoja coalition. The committee received memoranda from various stakeholders and held public hearings across the country.

The committee submitted its report to the Speaker on November 26, 2022. The report contained several recommendations on constitutional, legal, institutional and administrative reforms, including:

– The creation of the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary, who would be the leader of the majority party or coalition in the National Assembly and would coordinate the government business in Parliament and Cabinet. The Prime Cabinet Secretary would also be the official leader of the opposition in case of a coalition government.
– The entrenchment of the political party funds into the constitution and the enactment of a law to regulate the formation, registration, funding and dissolution of political parties and coalitions.
– The implementation of the two-thirds gender rule in both elective and appointive positions at all levels of government and the establishment of a Gender Commission to oversee the enforcement of gender equality and equity.
– The review of the electoral system and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure free, fair and credible elections and the resolution of electoral disputes.
– The enhancement of the devolution system and the allocation of more resources to the county governments and the establishment of a Devolution Commission to monitor and evaluate the performance of devolved units.
– The reduction of the cost of living and the improvement of the quality of life for Kenyans through the implementation of social and economic policies that promote inclusive growth, job creation, poverty reduction, food security, health care, education and environmental protection.
– The promotion of national cohesion and reconciliation through the establishment of a National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to address the causes and effects of ethnic, religious, political and social divisions and violence in the country.
– The protection of human rights and the rule of law through the strengthening of the judiciary, the police, the anti-corruption agencies and the human rights commissions and the enactment of laws to prevent and punish human rights violations and corruption.

Raila Odinga, who spoke on behalf of the Azimio la Umoja leaders, described the report as “unfinished but a good beginning” and urged Kenyans to support it. He said the report addressed some of the historical injustices and grievances that have plagued the country since independence and offered a roadmap for a more democratic, inclusive, prosperous and peaceful Kenya. He also called on the government to expedite the implementation of the report and prepare the country for a referendum to amend the constitution.

However, the report has faced criticism from some quarters, especially from the Jubilee Party, which is part of the Kenya Kwanza coalition. Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni said the report failed to adequately address the concerns of Kenyans, especially the rising cost of living, the high public debt, the Covid-19 pandemic and the insecurity in some parts of the country. He also accused the committee of being biased and serving the interests of the Azimio la Umoja leaders. He said Jubilee would not support the report and would mobilize its members and supporters to reject it in a referendum.

The report has also sparked some dissent within the Azimio la Umoja coalition, with some leaders expressing reservations about some of the recommendations. Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua said the report did not go far enough in addressing the root causes of the political and social problems in the country and proposed some cosmetic changes that would not make any difference. She said the report should have focused more on the issues that affect the common mwananchi, such as the high cost of living, the unemployment, the corruption and the impunity. She said she would consult with her party members and supporters before making a final decision on whether to support or oppose the report.

The Speaker of the National Assembly is expected to table the report in Parliament for debate and approval before it is submitted to the President for assent. The President will then appoint a Referendum Committee to oversee the conduct of a referendum within six months of the assent. The referendum will require the approval of at least 20 percent of the registered voters in each of at least 24 counties and a simple majority of the total votes cast nationally.

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