, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – An attempt by some Members of the National Assembly to spearhead national dialogue has gotten off to a rocky start after the main political parties refused to lend support to the initiative.
Some 50 MPs met at County Hall on Wednesday, saying they had the blessings of 100 others, and agreed to form a 25-member Inter-Parliamentary Parties Caucus to spearhead the dialogue.
They picked Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi as interim chairman and Emuhaya MP Wilbur Otichillo as his deputy. The team had resolved to reach out to the Senate and invite eight Senators to the committee.
“This is a tall order, but we are just offering ourselves now and talking on our responsibilities as MPs to do what we must do and what is the right thing to do,” Mutava briefed reporters after the meeting.
However both coalitions have disowned the initiative and chose to maintain the hard-line stance, with Coalition for Reforms and Democracy insisting that sovereignty lies with the people of Kenya and that such talks must be open to all stakeholders in the country.
“CORD is not party to any committee of Parliament formed to purportedly spearhead national dialogue,” CORD affiliate Orange Democratic Movement Communications Director Philip Etale said.
“CORD has and will continue to maintain that the sovereignty of the country lies with the people of Kenya as enshrined in Chapter One of the constitution and that such talks must be open to all stakeholders in the country,” Etale said in a statement.
On his part Majority Leader Aden Duale says any matter of dialogue should be discussed inside Parliament by all members, and not a select caucus.
“The Constitution must be followed, that is the position… Article 95 (2) says the National Assembly of the Republic of Kenya will deliberate and resolve issues of concern of the people of Kenya; so the route is here: if you want to dissolve IEBC, the roadmap is Article 251, if you want to deal with devolution you start with the Senate, if you want to deal with corruption you go to the Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission, Auditor-General, Controller of Budget, Director of Public Prosecutions and then parliament as an oversight,” Duale said when fielding questions from reporters.
But Musyimi said they were committed to the cause, despite the initial hiccups.
“The great thing about politics is that a lot can happen and a lot generally does happen and that is why we sat today and decided to go ahead and have this interim committee because politics can sometimes come in and you lose the agenda and so we are not ignorant of the context in which we operate,” he said.
The former National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK) Secretary-General who was participated in the Inter-Parliamentary Parties Group meeting which led to minimum reforms ahead of the 1997 general elections said they are aiming to tackle are insecurity, devolution, electoral commission, inclusivity in government and ethnicity.