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2023 Political events: Monday-Thursday demos to NADCO report

Dec 29, 2023
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The political landscape in 2023 was marked by a series of dramatic events, ranging from nationwide protests, multiple impeachment attempts, the National Dialogue Committee, and then their final report.
Taarifa MediaGroup has compiled a snapshot of the pivotal occurrences captured in the political scenes in Kenya this year.


Maandamano


On March, 20, 2023Azimio party leader Raila Odinga rallied his supporters for national anti-government protests which were nicknamed ‘Maandamano Monday’.
According to Raila, the demonstrations were aimed at addressing pressing national concerns which included: the high cost of living, the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the audit of the 2022 election results, and the marginalization of specific regions in the appointment of state officials.


The protests which were intended to be peaceful in turn were marred with violence, excessive use of force by the police, looting by Azimio supporters and attacks on private properties and businesses.


Raila Odinga called on the Kenya Kwanza government to open the servers of IEBC which Ruto refused telling him to stop bothering him about servers asking where in the constitution it is stated that servers must be opened.


“If the constitution talks about me opening the servers, I will obey the law.” Ruto was categorical, adding with a sense of finality that “the only topic I will discuss is about opening the economy”.


Different cities and towns were buried in the chants for cheaper Unga with the Azimio leader saying he would continue to fight for electoral justice and sees these protests (maandamano), as an avenue through which to agitate and perhaps corner the president.


In the battle for the city and towns, the police won in the many days of the riots because their plan had been simple but meticulously and ruthlessly executed: to prevent Raila and his supporters from accessing the Central Business District of Nairobi and also the various Cities in Nyanza region where his support lies most.

Raila had threatened to lead a march on State House, and the police had reacted by throwing heavy cordons around Ruto’s official residence. Police officers at the junction of State House Road and Arboretum Drive to prevent him and his followers from accessing the house at the hill.


Weekly protests across the country were experienced every Monday as Raila led his troops to the city.
In the battle for the soul of the nation, two political heavyweights were once again staring each other down. One with the access to state instruments of violence, and the other believes his power rests with the masses.


More than 20 attacks and violations against journalists since the start of the protests, according to the Kenya Media Sector Working Group as more than thirty people were killed and over four hundred wounded between March and July 2023 when the protests happened.


The Azimio principal called off the protest on April 3, 2023, after he stated that he was ready for saying he was ready for negotiations following an appeal from President William Ruto.


“We stand down our demonstrations for Monday that is tomorrow, April 3, 2023. But in doing so, we want to emphasise that the right to assemble, demonstrate, petition, and speak are iron-clad as provided for in our constitution. If there is no meaningful engagement or response from Ruto, the protests would begin again in one week.” Raila said.


Religious groups had urged the government and opposition to give dialogue a chance to prevent the country from descending into post-election violence that left more than 1,200 people dead in 2007.


The instability in Kenya prompted an international concern, with the United States and the United Kingdom, among other foreign missions, calling for restraint.


The African Union had also appealed for a peaceful end to the chaos that saw riot police firing tear gas and water cannons at protesters, as well as places of worship, properties, businesses, and cars set aflame.

Bipartisan Talk and NADCO Report.

President William Ruto extended an invitation to Raila Odinga for a discussion over the issues they had raised through a bipartisan approach.


While the President wanted the discussions to be held in Parliament, Raila wanted the talks to be done outside the House, claiming that UDA had compromised most MPs by out rightly bribing them. Kenya Kwanza coalition settled on Tharaka MP George Murugara to lead the bipartisan talks from the government side.


He was to lead the 14-member team together with Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo who was chosen by the Azimio la Umoja coalition.


The two were to lead the team comprised of Ole Kina( Narok Senator), Edwin Sifuna ( Nairobi Senator), Enoch Wambua(Kitui Senator ), Amina Mnyanzi (MP Malindi), Millie Odhiambo (MP Suba North) and David Pkosing (MP Pokot South).


Others were Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Hillary Sigei (Bomet Senator), Essy Okenyuri (Nominated Senator), Lydia Haika (Taita Taveta Woman), Mwengi Mutuse, George Murugara (MP Tharaka) and Aden Keynan (Mp Eldas).


The two parties did not agree and Azimio was back on the streets again in July which lasted for the whole month until the opposition side agreed that a National Dialogue Committee (NDC) was formed which was approved by the parliament.


The NDC was composed of ten members from both the Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party and was given 60 days to hold talks and submit a report to Parliament.
Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah were co-chairs of the committee.

After a series of meetings and one or two deadlocks, NADCO presented its report to President Ruto and Odinga, who both agreed to recommend the adoption of the report.
However, a section of leaders from Azimio, including Martha Karua, opposed some of the proposals and claimed that the committee did not address the most pressing issue— the cost of living.

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