In an attempt to expedite the resolution of political conflict, opposition leader Raila Odinga has demanded the conclusion of bipartisan talks between his Azimio coalition and the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance within 30 days. This ultimatum follows Azimio’s decision to suspend mass protests once more.
The Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition called for immediate commencement of the talks after agreeing to put a hold on their planned demonstrations. This decision came after a meeting between Odinga and the seven-member Azimio team participating in the talks.
Eugene Wamalwa, the DAP-K party leader, read a statement on behalf of Azimio: “We have instructed our delegates to make it clear that we want these talks concluded in 30 days from the date of commencement. We have also made it clear that our youths, who have been arrested and arraigned on trumped-up charges, must be released unconditionally ahead of the talks.”
The coalition members emphasized their commitment to prioritizing the nation’s interests during the negotiations. They urged the government to intervene and lower the costs of essential goods and services, such as food, fuel, electricity, and education. In addition, they called for the restoration of previously eliminated subsidies to reduce the cost of maize flour.
The opposition politicians also outlined their terms for the discussions, including a demand for the talks to extend beyond the confines of Parliament. They argued for an inclusive process that engages participants from outside the legislative body and addresses other pressing constitutional issues.
Moreover, Azimio insisted on an audit of the 2022 presidential election results and a restructuring of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The coalition clarified that it does not seek a power-sharing arrangement with Kenya Kwanza, deeming the current administration an “illegitimate regime.”
The opposition leaders also made allegations, without providing evidence, of a conspiracy to assassinate some Azimio members and supporters during the May 2 protests.
Azimio cautioned that it will not hesitate to resume mass action if the ruling alliance fails to address their demands, warning that “there shall be no turning back” if the talks are abandoned due to stonewalling tactics by Kenya Kwanza.