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Wacheni vitisho! Kimani Ichungwa warns Azimio ahead of bipartisan talks

Kikuyu lawmaker says the government will not be swayed by intimidation ahead of the planned talks with the opposition.

The assertion comes amid a war of words between the government’s Kenya Kwanza coalition and the opposition’s Azimio.

The talks, brought upon by the blessings of President William Ruto, Azimio leader Raila Odinga and former Nigeria president Olesegun Obasanjo are primed to begin this week.

Mr Odinga, who finished second behind President Ruto in the 2022 presidential elections, recently hinted that he could lead his supporters back to the streets in demonstrations if the talks are not successful within 3o days.

“If you attempt to force us into talks by leveraging street protests as a threat, we will not yield. A pre-condition for any talks is a commitment to abstain from using violence as a means of influence. We refuse to sit at a negotiating table where threats are utilized to manipulate our stance,” said Mr Ichungwa.

Besides Mr Odinga, former Defence Minister Eugene Wamalwa, who is a Principal in the Azimio coalition, insisted the talks will revolve around the issues affecting Kenyans, such as the cost of living.

“We are ready for the talks. Our demands are already well-known. The talks were initiated by President William Ruto and the government should stop disrespecting our leaders. We want to emphasize that we do not seek a mere symbolic gesture like a handshake. Our objective is to engage in meaningful dialogue to address the pressing issues affecting the people of Kenya,” said Mr Wamalwa, who currently is a key member of the Azimio team.

President Ruto recently led his allies in a tour of central Kenya, where they vowed their will be no sharing position with government ahead of the planned talks.

The talks between these three Statesmen was called following weeks of anti-government protests called by Mr Odinga, which left scores dead, many others injured and property worth millions of shillings destroyed. The protests, according to Mr Odinga, were aimed at putting pressure on the government to address the high cost of living, among others.

The Kenya Kwanza team includes Ichung’wah who is the National Assembly Majority leader, Senate Majority leader Araon Cheruiyot, and Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire.

Others are Hassan Omar and Catherine Wambilianga.

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition delegation be led by Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and include Minority Party Leader Opiyo Wandayi and DAP Party Leader Eugene Wamalwa.

Others include Nyamira Senator Okon’go Omogeni and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi.