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Excitement sweeps Nyanza after Raila unveils 'formidable team'

By Standard Team | May 17th 2022 | 3 min read
Supporters of Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga celebrate after he named Martha Karua as his running mate.Sammy Omingo,Standard)

A wave of excitement and optimism swept through Nyanza following the decision by the region’s kingpin and presidential hopeful Raila Odinga to settle on Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate.

Celebrations were reported in parts of Kisumu as residents broke into song and dance to mark the new development in Mr Odinga’s fifth stab at the presidency.

They say there are no permanent enemies in politics. Ms Karua was once loathed by voters in Nyanza, but after Mr Odinga’s declaration yesterday, she is now viewed as a heroine.

The local voters believe Mr Odinga pulled a political masterstroke in naming Ms Karua as his running mate. Some say the decision will pull female voters to his camp and give him an edge over Deputy President William Ruto. The residents added that the veteran politician has what it takes to serve the country and brings on board a wealth of experience and integrity to Mr Odinga’s camp.

In several entertainment joints, jubilant residents broke into celebration after Mr Odinga announced Ms Karua would deputise him in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

At Kondele, considered the headquarters of Nyanza politics, residents who had turned up at various joints to follow Ms Karua’s unveiling described the selection as a “political masterpiece”. Maurice Opiyo said he is happy with the decision, adding that it will make a huge difference in the country’s political landscape.

“For long, women have been sidelined in leadership, and the decision by Mr Odinga to select Ms Karua as his running mate is a major boost for women leadership,” he said.

Nancy Okello, a vegetable vendor at Kondele who followed the event online described the duo as a formidable team that will sweep votes across the country.

“We believe in Mr Odinga and the decision he has made is a major breakthrough for us. He gives everyone a chance and we are very happy as women,” she said.

Joshua Nyamori, a constitutional lawyer and a political pundit, described Ms Karua’s selection as a tactical move that would have a positive impact on Mr Odinga’s chances of clinching the seat. On social media, congratulatory messages dominated discussions, with the region that has always backed the ODM chief throwing its weight behind his latest political decision. Political leaders from the region, as well as professionals, described the move as a turning point for the space of women in the country’s politics. Industrialisation CAS David Osiany said the decision is a clear indication of the quest to expand women’s representation in government.

“Indeed, by this nomination alone the glass ceiling is shattered,” he said.

Mr Odinga’s lieutenants praised the selection, saying they are optimistic the political card will play out in their favour and guarantee them a landslide win in the August 9 General Election.

Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko described Ms Karua’s selection as a sure bet of winning the presidency. Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, who has also set her eyes on becoming the county’s first woman governor, said the decision was historic. With the ODM chief expected in Kisumu today for the Africities conference, all eyes are on how residents will receive him.

Former Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo said: “Let every woman support Ms Karua on August 9. This is a big score for women.”

[Report by Eric Abuga, James Omoro, Sharon Owino and Anne Atieno]

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