Battle of Runningmates – Karua & Gachagua Face-off on Live TV Debate

Martha Karua and Rigathi Gachagua

Martha Karua defended her resignation as Justice and Constitution Minister in 2008 when she served in the administration of former President the late Mwai Kibaki, she resigned from her post citing interference

By The Weekly Vision

Ms Martha Karua, the ‘Iron Lady’ of the Azimio la Umoja and his Kwanza Kwanza counterpart Rigathi Gachagua last evening took centre stage on a live TV debate when the two attempted to tell the Kenyan voter what their political formations will do for them should they win in the August 9th Presidential elections.

It was the first time the two came face to face in a show that was seen by many political observers as a display of eloquence on Martha Karua’s part as she tried to enumerate her alliances’ position on issues raised by the moderators James Smart and Sophia Wanuna.

Mr Rigathe Gachagua denied claims that a portion of his fortune stems from business dealings during the tenure of his late brother Nderitu Gachugua’s stint as Governor of Nyeri County. He claimed that the allegations he is facing are part of the blackmail by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration after he allegedly refused to back the handshake between him and Raila Odinga.

He claimed that the allegations he is facing are part of the blackmail by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration after he allegedly refused to back the handshake between him and Raila Odinga.

Martha Karua defended her resignation as Justice and Constitution Minister in 2008 when she served in the administration of former President the late Mwai Kibaki, she resigned from her post citing interference. “I resigned honourably in line with my principles,” she said. “ I haven’t had any new properties, but I’m a person many may not understand. I’m not thirsty for land. I’m not thirsty for worldly goods,” she said. She underscored that “I am not hungry for billions.

According to the Media Council of Kenya’s (MCK) Training and Development Director Victor Bwire, the debate is a platform from which the electorate can assess candidates as they go head-to-head, gauge their pitches, sincerity and demeanour, for them to make informed choices.”

The MCK and other media stakeholders play a central in organizing and executing the event that has now taken root in Kenya in preparation for the presidential elections. Mr Bwire said the expected face-debate between William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya Kwanza and Azimio tickets respectively, will be the main event. The duel between their respective deputies last evening was just as captivating for several reasons as they set the stage for their bosses in the finale duel.

The two also set the stage for their Presidential candidates in the next few days; the show is expected to crown the event as the duo battle to win the race to State House through the power of the Kenyan voters in August.

It must not be forgotten that the picking of Ms Karua as Raila Odinga’s number two was widely hailed, it caused ripples effects across the country’s political landscape, DP Ruto’s naming of Mr Gachagua on the other hand, elicited collective political and public groan, even from within Kenya Kwanza, where he had trailed in many internal polls to Senator Kithure Kindiki.

Mr Gachagua a professional provincial administrator and fairly a political novice in the country’s stormy and mucky political landscape, last evening faced off with a professional lawyer and a formidable seasoned woman politician who is on record as having been on the ballot to contest for the Presidency in past general elections.

Ms Karua ticks many boxes, the first woman DP nominee on a major party ticket, she is on record as having been in the trenches alongside Mr Odinga during the multi-party campaign in the 1990s, reputation as a clean politician during her decades as MP for Gichugu Constituency and a Cabinet Minister, she is as tough as nails, often referred to as the ‘Iron Lady’ or ‘the only man’ in President Kibaki’s government.

The atmosphere last evening, as expected by many people was electrifying when Mr Gachagua and Ms Karua faced off at the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) auditorium. Indeed the fact is that the presidential debate is establishing itself as a vital component of Kenya’s electoral democracy; is increasingly turning out to be an important platform for candidates to showcase their grasp of issues faced by the people they intend to lead, it is also a platform to distinguish themselves from opponents.

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