The bi-partisan national dialogue team operating from the Bomas of Kenya yesterday set in motion the process of having the talks sanitised through an Act of Parliament by the bi-cameral House even as they failed to agree on the issues to constitute agenda items for deliberations.
Effectively, yesterday’s anticipated kick-off aborted for the second time.
The Kalonzo Musyoka representing opposition’s Azimio One Kenya Coalition and Kimani Ichung’wah representing the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance led teams implored House leaders under its team to fast-track the drafting of a motion to legally recognise the committee in law so as to ensure its deliberations are bound.
During its first official session where the 8-member technical team was formally co-opted into the committee, the members resolved to assign the technical committee the role of reviewing the issues raised by both parties and list them to prioritise key agenda and also aid the committee settle the question of how long the talks will take.
Despite high anticipation that the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio talks will set off on an agreed agenda, a meeting by the technical committee ahead of the talks failed to reach a consensus on the list of issues to be discussed by the committee.
As such, the committee moved to first co-opt the technical committee ahead of the resumption of talks next week Monday where the agenda will have been outlined.
But before formal talks can begin, the committee urged its representatives from parliament to hasten the drafting a motion that will see the formal recognition of the committee to ensure its deliberations and overall recommendations are bound by the law and therefore actionable.
With some of the issues also expected to generate bills and possible review of the law, the technical committee is expected to work with the secretariat from parliament to initiate its drafting.
Throughout the week, the technical commitee will meet to also address preliminary issues including the duration of the talks noting that the Azimio coalition has threatened to resume street protests if by the end of the month, a resolution will not have been reached.
“This is the team that will be backing us in the dialogue team. We will be briefing them on what our expectations are as a team so that we realise the objectives as soon as we can,” said Kenya Kwanza’s team leader Kimani Ichung’wah – team leader.
Questions were also raised about the unexpected presence of US Senator Chris Coons in the country noting that he was instrumental in bringing retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga together resulting in the handshake that has been vehemently opposed by Kenya Kwanza.
But even as the committee commenced its sittings it was apparent that among issues raised by both parties there were some that are bound to raise temperatures within the committee and likely to result in a standoff.
The spotlight remains on the committee on how it will conduct attempts by Azimio to include members of the diplomatic corps and religious leaders to the talks, was set aside until a framework for their inclusion is arrived at.
A civil society group was at the Bomas of Kenya seeking to be included in the talks claiming that the committee did not conduct public participation ahead of the talks. They were however dismissed.