Africa Daily Insight

Eugene Wamalwa Rejects Role in Crucial Ruto-Raila National Dialogue: Highlights, Implications, and Criticism Jul, 10 2024


Eugene Wamalwa, the prominent leader of the Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K), has made headlines by refusing to take part in the national dialogue that aims to address ongoing issues in Kenya. This dialogue, spearheaded by President William Ruto and Azimio Leader Raila Odinga, is an ambitious initiative designed to bring together a broad spectrum of voices from across the nation. The program is scheduled for six days, from July 15th to 20th, 2024, and aims to foster a national conversation addressing the country's most pressing concerns.

Wamalwa's Firm Stance

Eugene Wamalwa's rejection of the dialogue comes as a significant move considering his influential role within the opposition Azimio coalition. On his social media account, Wamalwa unambiguously declared his stance with a succinct, 'I am not boarding.' This refusal is more than just a personal decision; it stands as a reflection of the broader skepticism harbored by some opposition figures toward the initiative. Wamalwa's critical view of the dialogue isn't new; his decision follows a prior act of dissent when he refused to sign the final report of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO). NADCO was originally formed to propose reforms addressing some of Kenya's most urgent constitutional, legal, and policy issues.

The Objectives of the Dialogue

The Objectives of the Dialogue

The multi-sectoral dialogue conference aspires to be an inclusive platform where various societal issues can be aired and addressed. Slated to feature a 150-member forum, the conference plans to include 50 youth representatives and 100 delegates from religious institutions, civil society, professional organizations, and political entities. This wide-ranging inclusion aims to capture the diverse perspectives and voices of the Kenyan populace, potentially providing a more comprehensive understanding of the nation's grievances.

Voices of Skepticism

Alongside Wamalwa, Martha Karua, leader of the NARC-Kenya Party, has also expressed reservations about the dialogue. Labeling it as a 'trap,' Karua shares the concern that the initiative might be co-opted by the political elite for their own benefits rather than serving the general populace. This type of skepticism is not uncommon in Kenyan politics, where dialogues and committees frequently face criticism for failing to achieve tangible and inclusive results. Critics argue that rather than fostering genuine dialogue and consensus-building, such initiatives often end up serving narrow political interests.

The Broader Implications

The Broader Implications

Wamalwa's decision not to join the national dialogue brings to light the complexities and challenges inherent in political discourse in Kenya. While the conference aims to create a platform for diverse voices, the absence of key opposition figures like Wamalwa could undermine its credibility and effectiveness. His refusal may resonate with other opposition members and supporters, potentially leading to a broader boycott or skepticism towards the initiative.

The Role of NADCO

Originally, NADCO was set up with the best of intentions to recommend significant constitutional, legal, and policy reforms. Wamalwa’s refusal to endorse NADCO’s final report suggests deep-seated disagreements within the opposition about the path forward for reform in Kenya. These internal divisions can complicate the already delicate process of national dialogue, reducing the likelihood of a unified opposition stance on key issues.

The Importance of Youth and Civil Society

One of the notable aspects of the upcoming dialogue is the significant representation of youth and members from civil society. Including these groups is crucial for ensuring that the concerns of a broad demographic are not only heard but are actively considered in the dialogue. By addressing the grievances and aspirations of young people and civil society, the conference could potentially foster a more inclusive and forward-thinking discourse.


The refusal of Eugene Wamalwa to participate in the Ruto-Raila national dialogue is a development with profound implications. It underscores the challenges of achieving consensus in a politically fragmented landscape. As the multi-sectoral national dialogue conference approaches, the absence of key opposition voices like Wamalwa and Karua will undoubtedly shape the narrative and outcomes of this ambitious initiative. For now, Kenya watches and waits, hopeful yet cautious, as its leaders attempt to navigate the complex waters of national reform and dialogue.