Kenyan women to make history with Martha Karua

Azimo la Umoja One Kenya presidential running mate Martha Karua addresses a congregation at African Devine Church, Kangemi for Sunday service on July 03, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

In about 30 days, Kenya will hold one of the most important elections in our history. Now, the two main camps have a huge following across the country, a testament of our ever-growing democracy. 

However, unlike in past elections, the differences in ideology between the two camps are worlds apart. The Azimio One Kenya Coalition stand for the Constitution by not only promising to remain true to it if elected, but also through the contributions of their principals during the country’s second liberation.

On the other hand, while the Hustlers team has shown they care about Kenyans of all backgrounds, they have failed to extend this to upholding principles of the 2010 Constitution. This stark difference in ideology is also evident from the choice of running mate that the two camps nominated.

The Azimio team made history by nominating Martha Karua as the running mate to Raila Odinga. In the days and weeks after, the Martha effect was felt across the country. Kenyans who were yet to settle on either camp were suddenly brought back into the fold.

There was a new wave of optimism that came with the thought of having a female Deputy President. Women felt truly represented, and not only because Karua is a woman, but because she is a woman who they can trust.

A woman who has stood for and upheld the rule of law, and one who embodies the national values and principles in Chapter 10 of our Constitution.

Martha has been a champion for good governance, integrity and accountability in leadership. She has also never been shy to call out corruption. Even in this campaign period, she has carried herself in a manner that shows her respect for both her captain Raila Odinga, and other Kenyans. She has remained Kenyans that politics need not be about insults and that we can have a thriving democracy based on issues, where we can agree or disagree in a civil manner. This was evident during one of the rallies, when she encountered youths hired to heckle and disrupt her.

The Martha effect has also resulted in her endorsement by various groups, from professional bodies to grassroots organisations. A lot of these endorsements were made as a show of belief in her as a national leader.

These endorsements were also a show of support to the Azimio coalition for not merely making unreliable promises to be acted, but by showing Kenyans that the women agenda is an important part of their plan for the country. One such movement up to acknowledge this moment in Kenyan history is the Million Women for Martha.

The principles enshrined in our Constitution are not upheld by making promises only to be acted on in future. They are upheld through action at every moment and at every level of Kenyan society. Women inclusion cannot be watered down to having mama mboga merely accompany a presidential aspirant to submit their nomination papers to the IEBC, and a promise of future cabinet appointments. Women inclusion is having women at the table in the present, and in this respect, Azimio have delivered superbly.

The challenges women face in society are a reality for all of us, from the mama mboga and the small businesswomen, to the female corporate executives who are industry titans in their own right. In the last three months, we have been treated to a preview of what the two camps understand on women inclusion.

We have an opportunity to act now and ensure that the future we want for our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and ourselves, is realised sooner rather than later.

Let’s show up and vote for the ticket that represents that future, the Azimio ticket. I am proud to say I am one of the million women standing with Martha as we make history together.

The writer is a communications specialist