20 June 2014

Kenya: Karua Makes Comeback, Supports 'Baba' On Dialogue

Nairobi — NARC Kenya Party Leader Martha Karua on Friday supported the call for national dialogue by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).

She said the Constitution allowed for citizen participation in governance and given the security challenges the country is facing, it was imperative for all parties to work together.

"Our nation is under threat and something needs to happen. The buck stops with the President, he has the responsibility to facilitate Kenyans to unite and to reason together on the way forward. And that can only happen if a forum for discussion is created. So for those who say discussion has to be institutional, parties are institutions," she said.

Echoing the Catholic Church, she said President Uhuru Kenyatta's Madaraka Day acceptance of dialogue was right and that the Jubilee parliamentarians' subsequent insistence that it be carried out through Parliament was a step back.

"The Executive in the first instance on Madaraka Day appeared to accept and then there was questioning of those talks. Yet this will not be the first or last time we convene forums for discussion. And this thing of participation started even before our Constitution. If you remember budget hearings, the Treasury would convene NGOs, Civil Society and all that," Karua said.

She went on to disagree with those who blamed the Saba Saba CORD rallies for heightened political and ethnic animosity in the country.

"Rallies alone cannot be a cause of tension. Both the President and his Deputy were together with the CORD leader Honourable Raila in Orange. That time we were Banana. After the Constitution, what they did was to go round doing rallies. Rallies are not a problem and you cannot ever ban people from meeting. We are also entitled to criticise, even severely," she said.

The issues she said NARC Kenya wanted addressed in a national forum are the involvement of county governments in security, the implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report and a review of the security agencies.

"Remember the TJRC report had timelines. It has been swept under the carpet and we are really worried because everywhere there's a scuffle, something about land will be said. If we do not address historical injustices, our national cohesion continues to be undermined and the threats escalated," she said.

But while calling for a review of the security agencies, she drew the line at calling for the resignation or sacking of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo saying it was a matter for, "another house."

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