, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – The Jubilee Parliamentary Group (PG) in a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on Tuesday resolved that there will be no National Dialogue Conference on July 7 as demanded by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).
The over 220 lawmakers who attended the PG at State House Nairobi resolved that CORD should instead channel their complaints and suggestions through the existing government structures such as Parliament.
“Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and other CORD leaders are however welcome to engage the President on any issue at State House,” they added.
The Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale made it clear the ‘issues’ exclude the re-constitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“The so-called national dialogue initiative in my opinion is about the President having a cup of tea with some other people. Not on IEBC, because on IEBC the roadmap is in the Constitution. So if you want to have a dialogue with the honourable Uhuru Kenyatta, honourable William Ruto, I can tell you for free that one of your agenda should not be the IEBC,” he later stated on the floor of the National Assembly.
Jubilee’s resolve on the ‘Saba Saba’ (July 7) conference demanded by CORD came as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga called on it to form a team to engage them on its modalities.
“The President only accepted the challenge that yes we are ready to dialogue but he has not invited me for dialogue. He’s not presiding over any dialogue. It’s now that we want to agree on a dialogue. And that’s why we have proposed that they name a team to engage our team to prepare the agenda and structure of this dialogue,” Odinga said earlier on Tuesday.
But given the outcome of the Jubilee PG meeting, it appeared that Odinga and his team jumped the gun on the form of dialogue President Kenyatta agreed to on Madaraka Day.
“I was very happy when our friends said they want to talk. But there is no need for ultimatums, let us work within existing structures of government and walk together,” he said. READ: Forget ‘Nusu Mkate’, Uhuru tells CORD.
The issues CORD said it wanted to address at a National Dialogue Conference on July 7 are insecurity, corruption, public appointments, devolution and IEBC.
“For example we want our Governors to live in peace, to know that there is security of tenure. Not that tomorrow there will be an impeachment motion. That they will be removed because they failed to pay some kickbacks,” Odinga said.
Odinga first made the demand for a National Dialogue Conference on Saturday at his homecoming rally in Uhuru Park where he also announced that they would be holding political rallies throughout the country in the coming months.
The first of which, he said, would be held at the Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa on June 15. “We’re not going just to tell Kenyans what we want or what we know they want, we’re going to be listening to Kenyans.”