Turudi maandamano! Babu Owino angry over missing ‘Cost of living’ in Azimio, Kenya Kwanza talks

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino has angrily responded to Azimio’s decision to hold talks with Kenya Kwanza, with missing ‘cost of living’ on the issues to be discussed.

“Total NONSENSE. Where’s the cost of living among the Terms of Reference? We better talk in the streets,” Babu tweeted.

The two parties have agreed to hold fresh talks to deliberate on five key issues under contention.

The fresh dialogue will be facilitated by former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo.

In a joint statement on Saturday, the two sides said they have agreed to form a ten-member committee to steer the talks, five from each side.

They termed it a collective determination to resolve their differences amicably for the benefit of Kenyans.

“The committee shall be seized with the following five issues; reconstitution of IEBC; implementation of two thirds gender rule, entrenchment of constituency development fund, establishment and entrenchment of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and embedment of the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary.”

The committee will include four members from outside Parliament, two from each side, leaders of the Majority and Minority from the National Assembly and four additional Members of Parliament -two from each side.

The statement was issued by Majority leader of the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’gwah and his Minority counterpart Opiyo Wandayi.

They said the Finance Act, 2023, whose enactment largely contributed to Azimio calling for resumption of street protests, will not form part of the discussions as it is a matter that shall be conversed before the courts.

“The parties agreed that the Finance Bill is sub judice and should be decided in court. Given the foregoing, we take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to this agreement and the people of Kenya.”

The new development comes barely a week after President William Ruto expressed willingness to hold dialogue with Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

Ruto said he was ready to have a sit-down with the opposition chief at a time of his convenience.

“My friend Raila Odinga, I’m off to Tanzania for a human capital meeting to harmonise the expansion of employment opportunities in our continent. I’m back tomorrow evening, and as you have always known, I’m available to meet one on one with you anytime at your convenience,” Ruto said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Raila said he was ready for the talks but expressed reservations that the President was not serious about the whole arrangement.

He further demanded as a precondition that should such talks happen, there must be a mediator, citing trust deficit on Ruto’s side.

“He [Ruto] is not somebody you can trust, he keeps changing; that is why I insist there must be a mediator between us,” Raila said during an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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