Odinga Issues Stern Warning Amid Diplomatic Visits, Sets 30-Day Deadline for Bipartisan Talks

by | May 5, 2023 | News | 0 comments

In a high-stakes political chess match, Azimio leader Raila Odinga warned yesterday that the opposition coalition would return to protesting if the Kenyan government fails to demonstrate goodwill or honesty during bipartisan talks to resolve the August 2022 post-election stalemate. This comes as details emerge of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two sides, which resulted in the cancellation of anti-government protests.

Insiders reveal that President William Ruto persuaded the opposition to call off the protests, partly due to the presence of several high-profile international visitors in the country, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Both sides have also reportedly agreed to expedite proposals for constitutional amendments, creating the offices of the Leader of Official Opposition and Prime Minister. Furthermore, Eldas MP Adan Keynan has been withdrawn from the bipartisan committee as demanded by the opposition.

In a press conference yesterday, Odinga, leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, insisted on a 30-day deadline for the talks, accusing the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance of employing delay tactics to undermine the momentum of nationwide protests. The opposition also maintains that discussions must extend beyond Parliament to include input from additional stakeholders.

Azimio National Executive Council chairman Wycliffe Oparanya affirmed that the opposition’s decision to reciprocate was contingent upon Kenya Kwanza’s withdrawal of Keynan from the talks. Sources indicate that negotiations to cancel the protests began two weeks ago, with the opposition allegedly demanding seven cabinet secretary positions and a prominent role for Odinga within the African Union.

Odinga, however, has emphasized that his coalition is not interested in power-sharing with Kenya Kwanza, which he accuses of ascending to power through a “civilian coup.” Despite this, a Kenya Kwanza bipartisan team member suggested that resuming talks is merely a tactic to distract the opposition from taking to the streets.

As the political tension continues to mount, the future of these bipartisan talks and the stability of the Kenyan government hang in the balance.

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