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NEWSAzimio split: Raila calls crisis meeting over talks report

Azimio split: Raila calls crisis meeting over talks report

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has convened an urgent meeting to take a position on the bipartisan committee report that threatens to split the Coalition.

At least two Azimio principals — Martha Karua and Eugene Wamalwa — as well as several MPs have trashed the report for reportedly failing to address the cost of living.

That position puts co-chairmen of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) talks Raila and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in a tight corner. They could be seen as traitors to their supporters, some of them gunned down in bloody anti-government protests.

The report is seen as a product of a delicate balancing act in which Kenya Kwanza agreed to undo the appointment of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission members.

The commissioners will now be appointed with an equal number of four members each appointed by both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza, plus others from different sectors, totalling nine.

Both Ruto and Raila should consult and concur before the official appointment of the electoral commission chiefs.

The committee also allowed an audit of the 2022 presidential polls and reduced some taxes on fuel, key demands of the Azimio battalion.

Individual MPs from Raila’s camp have termed the NADCO underwhelming and not worth the paper it is written on.

Saboti MP Caleb Amisi said Kenyans no longer have anyone to defend their interests.

“If these are the proposals coming out of the national dialogue committee sitting for 90 days, on a reduction in the extraordinarily high cost of living, then this country is incorrigible for sure,” Amisi said.

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“Kenyans are officially on their own. Wait for miracles at your own peril. We must disturb the stubborn status quo.”

Since the report was made public on Saturday, Raila and Kalonzo have kept a studious silence.

The former Prime Minister yesterday promised his supporters to describe their next moves on Thursday.

He hinted, however, however at a return to the streets, if they don’t agree with the report.

“I have convened a meeting on Wednesday and on Thursday I will then give way forward,” Raila said in Kisumu on Monday.

In an invite seen by the Star, Raila has summoned his troops for a Parliamentary Group meeting to discuss the report and take a common stand.

“Honourable Members, we have scheduled an Azimio Parliamentary Group meeting for Thursday, 30th November 2023 at 10am. Venue: JOOF offices, Upper Hill. At the meeting, Members shall deliberate on the report of the National Dialogue Committee with a view to taking a common position. Thank you,” read the invite by Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi.

Immediately after the unveiling of the report, Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua and DAP-K leader Eugene Wamalwa dismissed it for failing to address the cost of living.

“Any purported agreement that does not immediately impact on the cost of living, electoral justice and respect for multiparty democracy is a fraud on the people and must be rejected,” Karua stated.

The committee admitted to failing to agree on the cost of living while unveiling the final report of its deliberations.

Wamalwa who was part of the five-man Azimio team in the committee has disclosed he did not sign the report because it omitted lowering the cost of living on the agenda for talks.

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“… l didn’t and will not append my signature to the NADCO report, and have not and will not accept any sitting allowance for the same because l believe we did not do justice to the single most important issue to Kenyans, i.e. the cost of living,” Wamalwa said.

Raila had previously threatened not to sign the report if the cost of living was not addressed.

Speaking to the Star on the phone, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi was reluctant to give his personal opinion on the report, saying the coalition will agree on how to approach the report on Thursday.

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