Jubilee and NASA inch closer to dialogue

10Dec 2017
Guardian On Sunday
Jubilee and NASA inch closer to dialogue

The National Super Alliance has set out demands it wants met by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government before they can engage in any meaningful talks ahead of the swearing-in of Raila Odinga as the People’s Assembly President on Tuesday.

They told diplomats who met them at Raila’s Capitol Hill offices that they were also neither interested in a coalition government nor any other form of power-sharing.

“We demanded that any meeting must be centered on electoral justice for meaningful negotiations to take place between Jubilee and NASA,” said one of the leaders who attended the meeting.

The US ambassador Robert Godec and UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey led the foreign diplomats while the NASA team was represented by Raila and co-principal Musalia Mudavadi, Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyoka who represented Moses Wetangula and Governor Kivutha Kibwana who appeared for Kalonzo Musyoka.

Sources said Raila remained silent during the talks that were led by Mudavadi, who said some of their demands are that the police admit they killed NASA supporters and apologise to Kenyans.

Exclusive meeting “We also demanded that Kenyatta comes out and publicly apologises to Kenyans over the extra judicial killings by the police and also denounce their conduct,” he said.

For any talks to start, Mudavadi said Kenyatta must personally call Raila and organise for an exclusive meeting between the two before other leaders from both sides can take part in follow up negotiations.

The diplomats came with messages from leaders of their respective countries and asked NASA to call off the planned swearing-in of Raila to allow time for dialogue.Mudavadi however told them that there will be no further engagement if they do not return today with assurances on issues they had raised.

They were expected to meet the President yesterday but the Government side had not given any offers by the time of going to press. The source said Mudavadi insisted that there will be nothing like “accept and move” on if Jubilee thinks that all they are interested in was a power-sharing deal.

Onyonka told the diplomats that Jubilee was also delaying constituting a new Government with hopes that they will dangle those positions to them. Kibwana called for respect from the diplomats and is said to have been angered by their “lecturing” of the Opposition in the recent past and called for equal respect for NASA and Jubilee leaders.

The new development signals a possible breakthrough on talks seeking to end political division and ethnic polarisation that was occasioned by the prolonged electioneering period.

These talks have been going on for the last one and a half months. This comes days to NASA’s plan to swear in Raila Odinga. The Opposition leader, who pulled out of the October 26 repeat presidential poll, has maintained that he won the August 8 poll.

The team led by Catholic Bishop Alfred Korir and Godec met the NASA principals at Raila’s Capitol Hill office at Upper Hill in Nairobi.

Wetang’ula, the NASA co-principal and Senate Minority Leader, welcomed the gesture but insisted that there must be concrete steps to heal the country. In an interview with Saturday Standard, he said they were ready for talks but only if the agenda is clear.

Complementing their voice “The representatives told us that our competitors Jubilee were ready for dialogue on the way forward for the country, it is now time to agree on what will be on the table for discussion,” said Wetang’ula.

The Senate Minority Leader said the positive overture from Jubilee was an indication that meaningful reforms could be on the way to heal a polarised nation.

Former Machakos Senator Johstone Muthama said they were not opposed to the talks but want to ensure the rights of Kenyans are not trampled upon.

“We are not looking for a nusu mkate Government, we will still go ahead with the swearing-in of Raila, we know Kenyans are waiting for that moment, we will then dialogue from the same level,” he said.

German Ambassador to Kenya Jutta Frasch, Hailey and Godec said they were ready to help Kenya resolve outstanding issues. Bishop Rotich urged Jubilee and NASA to sit down and engage on the national conversation.

 He added that Kenyans also need to come on board to help address the issues

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