Nairobi — The National Dialogue Committee on Monday held talks focusing on the thorny cost of living that has caused a major divide.
The committee led by leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Kimani Ichung’wah stated that several experts have been invited to give their proposals on the issue.
“We have started tackling the difficult question of the cost of living. We have resolved that beginning next week we shall be inviting a number of experts to help us crack the numbers and be able to have proposals that will ease the burden Kenyans are bearing,” Inchung’wah said.
According to Ichung’wah, the cost of living cannot be discussed and agreed in a single sitting and the committee is exploring immediate, medium, and long-term solutions.
Ichung’wah noted that they have an extension approval by both the Senate and National Assembly, and they have another 30 days from October 28 to November 28. He said they endeavor to conclude the process long before the lapse of the extension and table report to Parliament.
He revealed that it has been difficult for the committee to access funding.
He said they have only two days of retreat in Elementaita to discuss the issues since they have no money.
“We continue to appeal to all of you to help us raise adequate resources to be able to go through the next one month. We have bills pending at the Bomas of Kenya,” he said.
He said they have agreed on a number of issues including auditing of elections and are working on the how and the instruments to use.
The decision by the committee came hours after Azimio leaders said they will not relent on their push to lower the cost of living.
They threatened to pull out of the talks should their partners fail to heed their call.
Eugene Wamalwa a member of the committee on Sunday during a church service in Kajiado had said they will not join the team meeting in Elementaita if the cost of living is not factored in.
On her part, Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua had said Azimio is not going to be part of the bipartisan talks report if it will not address the issue of the cost of living.
Kalonzo said the committee is dealing with a hardcore issue that must be addressed and they will not shy away from it. He noted that Kenyans have suffered due to the high cost of living, and they will do the best they can to have it addressed.
“We have started discussion on this very important matter. We know that Kenyans across the political divide are feeling the heat of the cost of living and I want to assure Kenyans that we are dealing with it head-on,” said Kalonzo.
Kalonzo noted that the cost of living is in the framework agreement they adopted when the talks started. He noted that as they progress with the discussion, they may want to recall some experts.
He said they are in Nakuru to look at the presentations and memoranda presented to them adding that there is no one will be left behind. He noted that the atmosphere within the committee is amazing.
Kalonzo urged the public and the media to desist from computing the amount of funds spent saying they are involved in the most critical exercise. He said they don’t want to get a shilling from the discussions.