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Female running mates might give candidates better chances

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and her supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court after winning her case against Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua on August 6, 2019. [George Njunge, Standard]

I believe the presidential candidate who will pick a female candidate will have a higher chance of being elected. We have a huge number of female voters and a good number might be tempted to vote for one of their own.

If Azimio’s Raila Odinga and UDA’s William Ruto are tempted to have female running mates, their search might lead them to one county — Kirinyaga and two women: Martha Karua and Anne Waiguru.

If both sides each pick one, the battle lines will be drawn. But, if one side ignores the oracle and picks a man and the other side picks either of the two, we shall have a suffragette’s (votes for women) moment in this year’s August poll.

Raila and Ruto, therefore, are battling. Still, their interests converge in Kirinyaga—the only county in the Mount Kenya region named after the sacred mountain. According to the Gikuyu community, their deity, Mwene Nyaga, has Kirinyaga as his foot rest. So since, in simple terms, Raila and Ruto are in a sword fight, they should focus on the two daughters of Mumbi from Kirinyaga as they draw the political battle lines.

I have seen the spirit of Wangu wa Makeri twinned in Karua and Waiguru. The only Kikuyu colonial chief pulls a lot of conspiracies. However, she was outstandingly unique and is said to have resigned as ‘headman’ after a Kibata dance scandal—she engaged in a dance of men. I’m not sure how this relates to Karua and Waiguru, but all signs have signifiers and signifieds.

I have also seen the ghosts of Luanda Magere and Koitalel arap Samoei speaking loudly within Raila and Ruto, respectively. While Koitalel was a supreme chief who led Nandi resistance against the British, Luada Magere was a legendary Luo leader who troubled the Nandi people until they lured him with a girl who discovered his weakness resided in his shadow. It was then that Nandi warriors spiked his shadow and killed him. But in 2022, the ghosts of the two are engaged at the ballot.

Unlike Magere and Samoei, their incarnations, Raila and Ruto, have two options of cheating 21st century political waves. In the first option, both must decide not to pick any of the daughters of Mumbi. The second option is for both to each pick one. I’m convinced that if, for example, Raila picks Karua, who has the highest propensity toward Azimio, and Ruto decides to ignore UDA’s Waiguru, Raila will have a high chance of winning in the coming polls. The vice versa is true!

If they do not pick the two daughters and go for male running mates, Ruto will be highly curtailed. One of the strategies that Uhuru Kenyatta and the Kieleweke team used to tame Ruto was to pluck out all possible strong running mates in the Mount Kenya region. Observably, Raila has many choices—including Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui former and Gatanga legislator Peter Kenneth, among others. Unfortunately, UDA has weaker candidates in this region. But that’s a story for another day.

So, why are we so much obsessed with Mount Kenya region? Isn’t Kenya more significant? And like former Gachoka legislator Joseph Nyaga (may his soul rest in peace) would ask, aren’t there other women in other parts of the country and other tribes who can birth leaders capable of becoming running mates? Constitutionally, every Kenyan should have a chance of leading Kenya.

Although this is a constitutionally guaranteed right, politics is not a respecter of constitutions. We’d wish that it was about any Kenyan. But no, the variables for winning political elections are impossible on a just doctrine; that’s why 2022 is politically a Mount Kenya region affair.

So Political Chessboard shows Raila and Ruto could get their running mates from Kirinyaga. And since they have the freedom to do with this political oracle the way they want, the gods will not be to blame!

Dr Ndonye Is a Lecturer of Communication and Media.