Kenya: We Are Ready for Talks – Khalwale to Odinga
Nairobi — Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has fired back to Opposition leader Raila Odinga saying the ruling Kenya Kwanza coalition is ready for talks.
On his Twitter account, Khalwale said the Kenya Kwanza coalition remains honest in the parliamentary-led bi-partisan talks so as to end the political impasse between President William Ruto and Odinga.
“We are ready to engage and talk on things that will ensure Kenya goes forward and we will continue talking for the sake of Kenyans,” he said.
Odinga threatened Monday that the coalition will no hesitate to resume street protests if the stalled talks don’t resume by Wednesday.
The Azimio La Umoja One Kenya alliance leader said he had displayed pure goodwill by call off protests in favour of the talks initiatited by the president but will have no option but to call for street protests.
“We have given them today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday),the talks must start in earnest by Wednesday,if they don’t start we will treat that gentleman’s agreement as canceled,” Odinga told a news conference.
He accused President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza ruling coalition of failing to give the talks the seriousness they deserve.
“We acted in good faith to call off the demonstrations after Kenya Kwanza had approached us and said they were ready for the talks,” he said, “We knew that the real reason was that visitors were coming, and they didn’t want demonstrations in town.”
Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition had planned to hold another demonstration on Thursday last week but said in a statement its leadership had agreed to suspend the action.
President Ruto’s government had called for bipartisan talks to try to resolve the crisis, but the process was stalled because of several disputes.
Sporadic violence had erupted on Tuesday last week, with police firing tear gas on opposition MPs while the government accused gangs “masquerading as political protesters” of looting, arson, and other criminal acts.
In March, three people were killed when the protests turned violent, triggering international calls for restraint.
Odinga’s supporters have staged several protests since March over claims last year’s presidential vote was rigged but also over what he says is the government’s failure to tackle the soaring cost of living.
Azimio said it had summoned its negotiating delegation to discuss “further engagement” with Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) alliance.
“We also wish to reiterate that we will not hesitate to resume mass action at the slightest indication of lack of good will and honesty on Kenya Kwanza side,” Azimio said last week.