Bipartisan Talks in Kenya Adjourned Indefinitely Over Political Differences
14:11 01.06.2023 (Updated: 10:47 03.08.2023)
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab ElshamyRecently elected MPs and governors from the Azimio Party, led by presidential candidate Raila Odinga, gather at their campaign headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab Elshamy
Kenya's opposition Azimio La Umoja - One Kenya - coalition led by veteran politician Raila Odinga has been at odds with President Ruto's ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance over past months. One of the main goals of the bipartisan dialogue committee is to resolve the differences between the two political coalitions.
Bipartisan talks aimed at addressing points of disagreement between Kenya's opposition and the government of President William Ruto have been suspended indefinitely, a co-chair leading the process announced on Wednesday.
According to Otiende Amollo, who is a representative of Azimio La Umoja, the talks were adjourned because the government failed to meet opposition demands.
He further elaborated that the Kenya Kwanza co-chair George Murugara didn't sign two letters addressed to the selection panel and another one to the chief executive officer of the electoral commission on the preservation of the presidential election servers. The politician explained that the government also didn't respond to several additional issues raised by the opposition.
"In the circumstances, it is our considered opinion that appropriate action is to adjourn the talks sine die in accordance with clause 36 of the framework agreement," read the letter by Amollo.
Since March, Raila Odinga, the leader of Kenya's main opposition alliance Azimio La Umoja which lost the 2022 elections to Kenya Kwanza, has led anti-government protests over the high cost of living and alleged election rigging. The latest protests were focused on the proposed 16% tax on fuel and the housing fund introduced by the Kenya government.
The demonstrations stopped last month, when Azimio declared that the ruling coalition agreed to one of its demands, without giving further details on the agreement.
One of the main demands of the Odinga-led Azimio is to lower the cost of living by reducing essential items' prices. They also demand an audit of the 2022 presidential election results. In particular, the opposition wants the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to preserve the election servers in order to facilitate inspection.
Kenya Kwanza's issues include the reconstitution of the IEBC commissioner selection panel and the introduction of the two-thirds gender rule in the National Assembly.
Ruto was declared the winner in Kenya's general elections last August with 50.49% of the vote. His main rival Odinga came second with 48.8%. The latter refused to recognize the results, organizing demonstrations against what he said was a "rigged" election.
The Kenyan president, for his part, condemned the opposition protests, which turned into riots and caused damage, forcing the closure of several businesses.