- The Nasa leader is pushing for an interim government to carry out the reforms.
- President Kenyatta had tried to make his government as inclusive as possible.
The two protagonists in Kenya’s political crisis both agree on the need for dialogue but there are still significant differences on what the agenda of the engagement should be.
Religious leaders, diplomats and other stakeholders have been working behind the scenes to bring President Uhuru Kenyatta and his challenger Raila Odinga to the negotiations table.
A source within the diplomatic corps told the Saturday Nation that the efforts had somewhat cooled off pending the decision of the Supreme Court on the October 26 repeat presidential election.
The Supreme Court ordered the fresh election after it nullified the August 8 one, citing irregularities and illegalities.
However, Mr Odinga pulled out of the race, arguing that the reforms he had called for to level the field had not happened.
The Nasa leader is pushing for an interim government to carry out the reforms and hold another election after six months irrespective of the Supreme Court’s decision on the petitions against the result.
All stakeholders agree that the two sides must talk regardless of what Chief Justice David Maraga and his colleagues decide.
The diplomatic source said both Nasa and Jubilee were willing to engage but the President’s side is waiting for a decision of the Supreme Court before it makes up its mind on how to proceed and the agenda.
‘‘For Jubilee, being in power and not being contested (in case Supreme Court doesn’t nullify again) is certainly the sine qua non ( the most basic condition). It seems that under certain conditions, Nasa might drop their demand for another election, but they want to discuss reforms,’’ said the official who works in a key European Union embassy and who has been involved in the mediation efforts.
On Thursday, Catholic bishops said they will convene a National Dialogue Forum to address long-term issues of governance, transparency, poverty, unemployment, economic inequality, conflict resolution, injustices and accountability.
“Irrespective of the outcome of the Supreme Court decision on the presidential election petition and any political situation, we are convinced this dialogue is necessary. It is evident and we must agree that there are underlying problems that only resurface during elections. To deal with our problems, we must dialogue,” the bishops said in a statement in Nakuru on Thursday.
Similarly, 15 Anglican bishops from Western Kenya led by Butere’s Rev Tim Wambunya asked politicians to shun inflammatory statements and embrace dialogue.
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has in recent weeks softened its stance on dialogue over an expanded executive and a more inclusive government, but insisted that it should only happen after the swearing-in.
Influential members of the ruling party told the Saturday Nation yesterday that while they are open to the dialogue the Opposition has insisted needs to happen, it would have to await the decision of the Supreme Court within the next 10 days.
Although he supports calls for talks on an all-inclusive government, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju said that those efforts ‘‘should not revolve around rewarding a few people.’’
“Yes, the country must be involved in constant dialogue. But it cannot be premised on Raila Odinga leading. Dialogue as defined by Mr Odinga is where he is the boss, sitting on everybody. And that, we will not accept,” said Mr Tuju.
According to Mr Tuju, President Kenyatta had tried to make his government as inclusive as possible.