NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 — Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino has called out the Azimio Coalition over what he termed as the exclusion of the youth in its seven-member team selected to engage in a bipartisan parliamentary dialogue proposed by President William Ruto.

His comments come after the Azimio nominated lawmakers to participate in the talks on the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Owino accused Azimio Leader Raila Odinga of ignoring the youth in the committee selection process, arguing that they should have been given priority since they have always been at the forefront of holding the government accountable.

“A team has been set up to Represent Azimio in the Bipartisan talks. I wish them well. However, it would have been more effective and efficient if a youth was part of the team because it’s the youth who are killed, maimed and still at the forefront in the struggle,” he said.

“The youth were on the forefront. They were killed, others injured and they would be happier to see a fellow youth on the committee.”

The two-term MP cited recent anti-government protests, which resulted in the death and injury of some young people, as evidence that the youth deserve a place at the table.

Owino argued that inclusion of the youth in the panel would be critical in addressing challenges facing them.

Azimio named its 7-member team Thursday during the coalition’s Parliamentary Group meeting held in Machakos.

The nominees are Ledama Ole Kina (Narok), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Enock Wambua (Kitui), Amina Mnyazi (Malindi), David Pkosing (Pokot South) and Otiende Amollo (Rarieda).

Election-dominated demands

“We shall send our members to that select committee. The point of reference shall be lowering the cost of unga and electricity, audit of IEBC servers used before, during and after the 2022 elections, reviewing the dismissal of the IEBC four, and for the government to consider restructuring IEBC by devolving its structures,” Kalonzo Musyoka, a principle in the coalition, stated.

The coalition’s leader, Odinga, threatened that should the talks fails then they will be forced to go back to the streets.

“Should there be no meaningful engagements we shall mobilize Kenyans again under Article 37. The monopoly of power can only be addressed by Kenyans through a constitutional review to end imperial presidency,” he asserted.

House Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah was expected to name representatives of the ruling party.

Ichung’wah and Kenya Kwanza’s parliamentary leadership met Ruto at State House on April 3, a day after the Head of State proposed bi-partisan talks in Parliament.

The Head of State has asked the Parliamentary leadership of both Houses to consider the bipartisan approach to addressing the matters raised by the Opposition as a priority.

“We are convinced the issues shall be conclusively handled by Parliament in order to allow us to focus on our economic transformation programme,” Ruto said.