By Munene Kamau

Rounds of speculation that Narc-Kenya Presidential flag-bearer Martha Karua is likely to be Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s running mate has infuriated the Gichugu MP.

The former Justice minister furiously attacked those fanning the assumption she would be Raila’s subordinate while on a tour of her constituency.

Karua vowed she has never shared political ideologies with Raila and urged the electorate to deny him votes to ensure he goes home after the March 4, 2013 General Election.

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“I do not share any values with the Prime Minister nor do I admire his brand of politics,” declared Karua whilst urging voters to send him home.

Karua and Raila have had a long-running rivalry, culminating in nasty confrontation in Parliament in 2007 when the PM tried to shake her hand.

On Monday  an aid to the PM who asked not to be quoted told The Standard: “I don’t think it has even crossed Raila’s mind that he wants to have Martha (Karua) as his running mate and she should be left alone.”

He said it was the PM’s policy not to engage in any confrontation or quarrels with anybody and that he was not interested in wading into the matter.

Karua has also declared her party would go it alone in the coming elections and the burden of seeking alliances like the other candidates has not been her style since she began campaigning to succeed Kibaki.

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A Sunday newspaper had this week claimed that the PM was planning to have Karua as his running mate and that the two had met secretly to negotiate a deal.

But Karua categorically accused the newspaper of unethically publishing falsehoods saying, “they have resorted to rumour mongering”.

Talk has also been rife in political circles and social networking site Facebook where a group calling itself Raila Odinga–Martha Karua Coalition-Youth Support and other sites are promoting their perceived coming joint bid.

All key aspirants that have so far declared presidential ambition have rejected the tag of running mate, insisting they will all be on the ballot.

Political analysts have argued that the aspirants are reluctant to offer themselves as running mates because they fear tribal clash from their home support, the moment they are seen as someone else’s shadow.

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Others have argued that a silent constitutional window allows them to form pre-election coalitions, but run for the presidency on their parties before joining forces as presidential candidate and running mate in the run-off stage, if it will be there.

Karua said Raila, who is the ODM presidential flag-bearer, should retire alongside President Kibaki arguing that the two coalition principals had failed to stop corruption in government.

Karua spoke at Rwambiti Mixed Day Secondary School, where she said President Kibaki will retire as per the constitution and the ballot box should send Raila home.

The outspoken MP said she is firmly in the presidential race despite the opinion polls showing her as being a weak contender compared to Raila and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The polls have been orchestrated to favour some individuals and Kenyans are wise enough to see what is going on,” said the Gichugu lawmaker.

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According to an Ipsos Synovate poll released last week, the presidential race is narrowing down to Raila and one of his deputies, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

The poll predicted that if elections were conducted then, Raila would beat Uhuru in the first round, but fail to garner the 50 per cent plus one needed to secure State House. That is where things get hard for Raila who, according to the poll would lose to Uhuru and Mr Musalia Mudavadi if he faced either in the run-off.

The poll showed in the event that Uhuru does not run, Mudavadi stands to benefit from the huge voting bloc in Mount Kenya region.

The Ipsos poll showed that the presidential election was, as is often said by Raila, a two-horse race.

While Raila’s support increased slightly 33 per cent in July to 36 per cent, Uhuru’s jumped sharply from 23 per cent to 30 per cent.

Mudavadi came in third at 7 per cent, unchanged from July.

“The two principals have totally been unable to uproot corruption within their ranks. One of them will be sent home by law and for the other one let the voters decide,” Karua said.

She urged voters not to be influenced by wealth or the ‘big’ names some of her competitors had, adding that they should embrace issue-based campaigns.

Karua argued leaders must pass the integrity test, noting that those who have continued to underrate her bid will not discourage her.

“Even when I joined politics when very young so many people in Gichugu told me that I could not make it but the rest is history,” she said.

All key presidential aspirants have continued campaigning, but none has told Kenyans who his or her running mate will be.

Among names that have been touted as possible running mates of Raila are Water Minister and Narc leader Mrs Charity Ngilu, who has also categorically denied the claims and insisted that she will be on the presidential ballot.

Ngilu recently launched her presidential bid, which was attended by members of the ODM Reloaded Team led by nominated MP Millie Odhiambo.

So far only Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and his Roads minister Franklin Bett have declared their willingness to contest as Raila’s running mate on an ODM ticket.

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