11:51 pm
21 October 2016

Kenya’s Oppositons Suspends Protests to Pave Way for Talks

Nairobi — The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) announced Sunday that it had suspended Monday protests to pave way for talks.

According to Senators Johnson Muthama and James Orengo, the decision was reached after meetings with the clergy, business community and diplomats who pleaded with leaders in the Opposition to give dialogue a chance.

“We have had extensive engagements with the diplomats, business community and the clergy. It is unanimous that IEBC cannot conduct credible elections,” Orengo said, “We are suspending Monday protests.”

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet had directed his officers to provide security to the demonstrators, and even pleaded with the organisers to provide the routes they intended to use and their destination.

The two Senators told a media briefing on Sunday that CORD had presented what they described as a detailed document to the jubilee side, highlighting all the outstanding issues, in which they expect a response by Wednesday.

Muthama however said protests will resume on Thursday if they don’t reach an agreement to present names from their side to work with the 11 members from Jubilee.

CORD had earlier declined to submit 11 names to face the Jubilee side in talks, insisting that there are key issues to be resolved.

But President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the Opposition to stop maintaining hard line positions which will stall reforms at the electoral commission.

The Jubilee coalition intends to table in Parliament the list of its 11 members to the Joint Select Committee set up to unlock the IEBC impasse on Tuesday this week.

The President asked the Opposition to appoint its members to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament to engage in the dialogue on the electoral body, saying Jubilee has already picked its team of 11 members.

“It does not matter who the commissioners are. We will go to the people for they are the ones who pick leaders,” President Kenyatta said.

The Head of State was speaking on Sunday after attending an inter-denominational church service at Kitui High School as he wrapped up his visit to the Lower Eastern counties of Kitui and Machakos where he inspected and initiated development projects.

Deputy President William Ruto said the Jubilee Coalition agreed to negotiate with the opposition on the issue of IEBC because it has the interest of the country at heart.

“Kenya is bigger than all of us. We ask the opposition to come to the table and stop giving conditions,” the Deputy President said.

But the Deputy President emphasised that the negotiations must be guided by the Constitution that is the supreme law of the land.