No other political party since Kenya’s independence in 1963 has ever chosen a woman as running mate for a presidential candidate
Conspicuously absent during the announcement by Mr Odinga at the Kenyatta Convention Centre (KICC) was Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who has in the recent past been loudly screaming that he was the right person for the job
In her acceptance speech, Ms Karua said she was happy to deputize Mr Odinga, congratulating her other running mate hopefuls and urged them to remain working as a team to form the next government
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga the Azimio la Umoja Alliance Presidential candidate made history yesterday when he picked Martha Wangare Karua as his running mate in the August 9th presidential elections.
No major political party since Kenya’s independence in 1963 has ever chosen a woman as running mate for a presidential candidate. Kenya Kwanza’s flag bearer Deputy President chose Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua as his running mate a day earlier.
Kenya’s neighbouring countries of Uganda and Tanzania had had Deputy Presidents, in Tanzania former vice president Mama Suluhu served under the late John Pombe Magufuli, succeeding him after his untimely death last year.
Conspicuously absent during the announcement by Mr Odinga at the Kenyatta Convention Centre (KICC) was Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who has in the recent past been loudly screaming that he was the right person for the job. It later emerged that he is also in the race for president. It also emerged that there had been an earlier secret meeting at State House Nairobi, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at which Kalonzo was promised a powerful cabinet slot in Raila Odinga’s government similar to that being held by Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I in the current government, should he win.
Speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Mr Odinga praised Ms Karua for her zeal and human rights record as well as her professional prowess after graduation when she was appointed as the country’s youngest magistrate at 24 years. Mr Odinga declared: “I needed a true Joshua in my corner, one who will not be a turncoat. After a long search and reflection, coupled with consultation, I have decided that the holder of this position must be a woman.”
He continued amidst loud wild cheers from the crowd attending the ceremony: “The office of the DP is a workshop which cannot compete with the presidency. The holder must be a co-worker, and after reviewing the committee report I have nominated Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the Chief Cabinet Secretary to help me form the Azimio government.” “I also nominate Kenneth Marende as the speaker of the Senate. I also nominate Wycliff Oparanya as CS for Treasury,” he added. Mr Odinga also proposed Mr Peter Munya as CS Agriculture and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho as CS for lands, to deal with the land issues, especially at the coast.
“I am deeply honoured by the decision by Baba to nominate me as the deputy president of the coalition. I am aware of the responsibility and this nomination is a collective honour that cannot be left to me alone”-Martha Karua
In her acceptance speech, Ms Karua said she was happy to deputize Mr Odinga, congratulating her other running mate hopefuls and urged them to remain working as a team to form the next government and chart the country’s future
“I am deeply honoured by the decision by Baba to nominate me as the deputy president of the coalition. I am aware of the responsibility and this nomination is a collective honour that cannot be left to me alone. It is a personal journey but also a national journey,” she said. She went on; “We are going to do more in the area of social-economic rights. Together, we can finally bring to life the dreams deferred.” she said.
The Narc-Kenya party leader added “This is a moment for the women of Kenya. It is a moment that my grandmother would have been proud of but she would not have been surprised because generations of women have fought for change. This is our moment as women of Kenya. It is also a moment for the men: they are our brothers and fathers.”
Ms Karua’s choice split Azimio which saw Wiper Kenya party leader Musyoka failing to attend Martha Karua’s big day. In a separate press conference, Mr Musyoka wished Ms Karua well and declined Odinga’s offer for the plum cabinet post.
He was captured on TV saying: “I wish Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua well. We have agreed to go our separate ways. I told Raila the decision to pick Karua will be met with a lot of opposition. OKA will be alone and very soon Wiper will be launching its manifesto.”
Ms Karua, who joined the Azimio team in March has been crisscrossing the country drumming up support for Mr Odinga. Last week, she attended the running mate interviews where she said she would accept the verdict of the interviewing panel. At KICC she said: “I went for the interviews without any set conditions. I went knowing the situation there and I will continue working with them regardless of the outcome.”
She went on to drum up support for Mr Odinga, saying that his record was unmatched by anyone opposing his candidature. “My history and that of Raila are similar. He is a patriot that has fought for human rights all his life. I am in Azimio because I know Raila has the interest of the people at heart. Even when he is wronged, he makes decisions based on the people’s interest,” Karua said. Ms Karua said the Azimio leader has a record of standing with Kenyans and is thus the best suited to be president.
She declared: “When we consider the incidences of 2002, 2007 and 2013 we can all agree that he (Raila) put his interest aside for the sake of Kenyans. What kind of leader do we want if not someone who put the interest of Kenyans first? No other side has such a leader.”
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