Statehouse denounces four-man team as CORD disagrees on committee membership

Statehouse denounces four-man team as CORD disagrees on committee membership

Fresh row is brewing in Cord over the composition of a committee that will engage the Jubilee Alliance on the fate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka had reportedly disagreed with the Opposition coalition hardline position over the joint Parliamentary select committee. Kalonzo is said to have favoured Cord naming its 11 members to sit in the committee and had fronted Senators Hassan Omar and Mutula Kilonzo and MPs Ben Momanyi and Daniel Maanzo as Wiper representatives.

But sources say the Orange Democratic Movement was uncomfortable with the  Wiper’s share of nominees as it has only 26 MPs compared to ODM’s 96. Moses Wetangula’s Ford-Kenya’s four nominees were also rejected

Kalonzo was conspicuously missing in Thursday’s evening press conference convened by his co-principals.

During the press conference Odinga and Wetangula announced the formation a four-member committee of Jubilee and Cord coalitions to iron out “sticky issues” only for Jubilee to deny the existence of such an agreement.

Statehouse sent a statement late on Thursday refuting Cord’s latest statement on dialogue, effectively rendering as unachievable the 24-hour “deadline” that Odinga had said was the agreed timeline for the four-man team to deliver its primary report.

“We have seen from the CORD statement that there was a proposal of another four member committee that we as a Party are unaware of. There has not been any suggestion or agreement on this four-member committee,” the Statehouse read.

Earlier on Thursday, Senator Kiraitu Murungi who Odinga had said would be leading the Jubilee two-member team to face Cord’s pair of Senator James Orengo and MP Simiyu Eseli had told Citizen TV that he was out of town until Monday.

While Jubilee appeared to play into the demands by opposition coalition CORD, it has emerged that CORD is eyeing an out of Parliament type of talks, akin to the Kofi Annan mediated type of talk at Serena back in 2008.

“The President’s announcement was the culmination of communication between CORD, Jubilee and other stakeholders who are keen to see the country arrive at an acceptable way of reforming the IEBC and our electoral infrastructure,” said Odinga in a news conference today.

CORD’s demands however are to have the talks settled on before the resolutions go to Parliament.

The Jubilee coalition however agreed to some of the proposals made by the minority among them;

That the joint select committee be composed of seven members instead of the eleven they had appointed – to be approved in the next Parliamentary Group meeting and that the two speakers should not be involved in the negotiations.

The ruling coalition promises to whip its members to vote for the list agreed upon by the joint select committee although there’s no guarantee that the list will pass as recommended.

Jubilee is also against the proposal to have joint chairmanship and instead leaves the issue to the committee. The president’s coalition is also against CORD’s proposals to have non Mps in the committee arguing that ‘there is no room for the injection of strangers into parliamentary business.”

There is agreement across the political divide that the members should engage, consult and report to their respective Political Parties. Jubilee is of the opinion that the house standing orders should apply in all the deliberations and the vote be independent. Both parties are in agreement that the negotiations be done in one month, a year and one month away from the August 2017 elections.

CORD has promised to make its stand known on the issue Friday.

“The product of negotiations will be tabled in Parliament with no possibility of a negative vote,” read a press statement from the Jubilee Coalition, as demands made by CORD, passed to them through the Inter-religious groups after meeting Odinga and his team earlier in the day.

But while Jubilee haggled over the composition of its eleven member team – with concerns arising over representation and the replacement of Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando with Gatundu South’s Moses Kuria, CORD’s leadership was locked in a meeting on it’s way forward.

The opposition coalition has since settled on a seven member team instead of Jubilee’s proposed eleven member team, and a four member secretariat with two CORD MPs and two drawn from Jubilee.

From where CORD sits, a decision is to be taken by the four member team on the way forward, including its next cause of action on its Monday protests.

The thinking in the Jubilee camp, Citizen Digital has learnt is to comply with the set out rule of law to go through a Parliamentary process, which the CORD fraternity has vehemently rejected.

Inter-religious leaders who had met the Opposition left the meeting with a message to the Jubilee leaders on CORD’s demands. The opposition leaders were also meeting foreign envoys.

The two sides however agree that the Speakers of Parliament should not be involved in the talks, in the spirit of impartiality.

While Jubilee is keen on tabling a report of the intended dialogue within a month to protect the August date of the Constitution, the decision by CORD remains unknown, only to be taken Friday, when its proposed representatives issue a way forward.

Report by Jacque Maribe and Macharia Wa Mugo