Ichung’wah Dares Raila as Bipartisan Talks See-Saw

National Assembly Majority Leader, Kimani Ichung’wah, on Sunday, dared opposition leader Raila Odinga to go back to the streets if the bipartisan talks fail.

Ichung’wah, speaking at a church service in Bungoma County, warned Raila against coercing the government to agree to his terms. 

“It is sad. Yesterday I heard him (Raila) threatening the people of Kenya with blackmail. I want to tell my friend’ Raila Odinga, please don’t blackmail the people of Kenya with chaos” he remarked.

“If you have a predetermined outcome of what you want out of the talks, things will not work out like that, my brother. If you want to go back to protests, go back tomorrow, and you will meet with those tasked to deal with demonstrations,” Ichung’wah, who also doubles as Kikuyu MP, added. 

Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah at a meeting on August 21, 2023


Kimani Ichung’wah

He emphasised that the talks were geared toward eliminating chaos in the country, which resulted in economic deterioration.

Dialogue, he underscored, was meant to benefit Kenyans and not a few individuals seeking government positions through the backdoor.

“We made it clear from day one we shall not engage in an environment of blackmail,” he warned and emphasised that the cost of living, advocated for by the opposition, will not feature in the bipartisan talks as the government already set up measures to address it. 

As per the Majority Leader, the energy the opposition currently invested in demonstrations should instead be channeled to farming, the key to reducing the cost of living. 

Other than the cost of living, the opposition wants the reconstruction of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the opening of IEBC servers to be discussed. The government side proposed the embedment of the office of the Prime Minister and the creation of the official office of the opposition leader. 

Ichung’wah called upon President William Ruto to remain focused on delivering his promises to Kenyans and not be distracted by the side shows of the opposition.

Earlier, while touring Busia County on Saturday, Ruto warned that he would not shake hands with Raila as he was not interested in creating positions for a few entitled individuals.

Ruto and Ichung’wah’s sentiments came hours after Raila urged Kenyans to prepare for demonstrations should the talks fail. 

While speaking at a roadside rally in Kitengela in Kajiado on Saturday, Raila reiterated he was set to organise fresh nationwide protests if the cost of living is not lowered.

“Let Kalonzo (Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka) and Ichung’wah talk first. We have given them a few days, but if they play around, I will call you (Kenyans) back to the streets,” Raila stated after gracing a church event in Kajiado County. 

Raila’s Azimio party settled on Kalonzo, while Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza chose Ichung’wah to lead the bipartisan talks. 

Members of the National Dialogue committee during a meeting at Bomas on August 21, 2023


Kimani Ichung’wah

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