Madam Chairperson Hon. Pricilla Nyokabi, members of the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy (CMD – Kenya), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
1. Let me begin by expressing my sincere gratitude for your 20 years of hard effort. You have collaborated closely with political parties, actors, strategic partners, and important stakeholders to promote social justice, political governance best practices, human rights, and basic freedoms.

2. Furthermore, you have given a forum for political parties, players, and policymakers to participate in debate and collaborate on developing multiparty democracy.

3. CMD-Kenya has been an invaluable resource, assisting in the development of democratic standards and providing knowledge for strengthening democratic governance institutions. The Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) party that I have the privilege of leading has been a major beneficiary of your time and resources.
So, accepting the offer to speak at The Peoples Dialogue Festival 2024 was the least I could do.

4. The topic up for discussion today piqued my interest: Governance reforms / Economic-Social development from an alternative opposition’s perspective, especially in consideration of the main theme of the Peoples Dialogue Festival 2024: Competition and Collaboration in Democratic Development.

5. Ladies and gentlemen, it is fair to say that we live in uncertain times. Too many individuals, including journalists, political scientists, and politicians, feel that our current political issues are inescapable. That ideological incoherence, maybe due to party weakness, and/or an increasingly disillusioned Kenyan public makes governance reforms, indeed actual socio-economic progress, difficult.

6. They are not wrong, at least for the most part, since the question of what constitutes good government persists. In 1996, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that “promoting good governance in all its aspects, including by ensuring the rule of law, improving the efficiency and accountability of the public sector and tackling corruption, [are] essential elements of a framework within which economies can prosper.”

7. In my opinion, or from the viewpoint of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition, the most important issue in evaluating good governance was the Kenya Kwanza Administration’s political commitment, administrative ability, and state-society interactions. We believe that they have not been up to the challenge and that it was this state of inertia or better yet, the ‘mpende,msipende’ attitude, that led to the nationwide Maandamano protests.

8. As Azimio, we kept asking the following questions:
➢ What would it take to change the socio-economic and political outcomes we were witnessing? And,
➢ What changes would be required to strengthen the political system’s alignment with the public interest and move the country forward socio-economically?

9. In addition, based on my experience as the tenth Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, a twice-appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs among many other ministerial portfolios held, and a successful lead mediator in numerous states, I believe that for meaningful change to take place, the “other side” needs to acknowledge the existence of a significant issue or threat and that governance reforms are both beneficial and the most practical way to stem the tides of revolt.

10. On August 30, 2023, Kenyans witnessed a Collaboration for Democratic Development. This was when a framework to steer bipartisan negotiations – the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO), of which I was Co-Chair – was signed in the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, following the Committee’s approval by both chambers of the bicameral parliament, therefore anchoring it inlaw.

11. Both parties’ agendas were consolidated into five thematic areas namely;
(a) Constitutional matters:
• Article 43 of the Constitution, the cost of living and related issues; and,
• Implementation of the two-thirds gender rule.
• Governance issues including:
• Promoting national unity and inclusivity in public appointments; and,
• Adequate checks and balances.
(b) Electoral justice:
• Restructuring and reconstitution of the IEBC;
• Boundaries delimitation; and,
• Audit of the 2022 presidential election.
(c) Entrenching funds into the Constitution:
• The National Government Constituencies Development Fund;
• The National Government Affirmative Action Fund; and
• The Senate Oversight Fund.
(d) Establishment of state offices:
• The office of the Leader of the Official Opposition; and,
• The office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary.
(e) Fidelity to political parties/coalitions and the law on multi-party democracy:
• Preventing interference with political parties/coalitions.

12. After three months of difficult negotiations, NADCO submitted its report on November 29, 2023. As I previously mentioned, after the anticipated initial friction and mistrust, the parties gelled and collaborated efficiently. “Trust returned to their ranks, and we demonstrated a strong commitment to peace and reconciliation, as well as the building of Kenya’s institutions and governance procedures.” Furthermore, I stated that this report was only the beginning; as it included flaws and was incomplete as “we agreed to disagree on the most important matter to us.”

13. The core of the relationship between the Azimio Coalition and the Kenya Kwanza Administration, and indeed the people of Kenya, has, in my opinion, been damaged by the continued rise in the cost of living. The Finance Act of 2023 increases taxation, adding to the hardships already faced by the majority of people. Furthermore, the Interior Ministry’s recent instruction to introduce increased taxes, fees, and levies on services provided by the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services including obtaining a National Identification Card, demonstrates an Administration that is out of touch with the realities on the ground.

14. Ladies and gentlemen, I have outlined an example of collaboration between rivals to implement governance changes and promote economic and social progress. There were both improvements and drawbacks. I’m looking forward to hearing from our Panel and other professionals here today about how we can best promote our
mutual agenda.

15.I conclude by asking us all – those sitting, others listening in via Live Link – that we must not lose Hope. Keep Hope Alive. There is much we can do together for our beloved nation Kenya and, I remain eternally optimistic that we are in the right place at the right time.

God Bless you and God Bless Kenya.


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