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Will Karua and Waiguru play second fiddle in presidential race?

POLITICS
By Jacob Ng'etich and Daniel Kariuki | November 24th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta is recieved at the Kirinyaga University grounds by Kirinyaga gurbenatorial aspirant Ann Waiguru (left) and NARC-K Martha Karua upon arrival in Kirinyaga County for a campaign tour of the region, June 28, 2017. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Former Justice Minister Martha Karua and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru have lately dominated the political scene as possible running mates for presidential contenders. 

These daughters of Mumbi, and more closely Gichugu; one from the Kimunye and the other from the Kiamugumo, have their names on people's lips.

Even though both of them have declared interest in the Kirinyaga Governor seat - Waiguru defending her post while Karua hopes to grab it from her - the two have continued to be touted as potential running mates for presidential aspirants in the 2022 matrix.

In 2017, Karua, 64, and Waiguru, 50, faced off in the Kirinyaga governor's race that culminated in a protracted legal tussle that was ultimately settled at the Supreme Court in Waiguru’s favour. Karua would later move to the East African court seeking justice.

Before that, in 2013 Karua ran for presidency.

Waiguru and Karua's names have dominated the list of women being floated as running mates to the front runners of the presidential race.

Already there is mounting pressure on the leading 2022 presidential candidates to pick female running mates.

In the political calculus, Karua has insisted that she is focusing her eyes on Kirinyaga governor seat held by Waiguru, but, her Mt Kenya Forum where she is the spokesperson seems to believe that she is way above that.

Mt Kenya Forum member and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria recently made a spirited effort to the presidential contenders to pick Karua as a running mate, insisting that she was the most competent and qualified candidate.

“The de-risking factor is Martha Karua. We are safe in the hands of Karua as Deputy President,” Kuria.

Karua herself has said her goal is to capture the Kirinyaga county seat come 2022 polls, adding that no presidential candidate has approached her or requested her to be a running mate.

"And I can tell you standing here, no one has requested me to be their deputy," Karua said.

Yesterday, Karua was honoured to give the general statement after OKA principals held talks with her Mt Kenya Forum for a possible political deal. 

"We came together to explore possibilities of working together, we belong to Kenya and none of us can do it alone," Karua said.

Talks are rife that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has been eying her as his potential running mate. There have also been calls for ODM leader Raila Odinga to pick Karua as his running mate while Deputy President William Ruto could settle on Waiguru.

Waiguru in a past interview with The Standard had hinted that she had been approached by several people to be their running mate. She later recanted the claims.

“At this point in time, I am seeking to be re-elected as governor of Kirinyaga County. The day the position changes, I will make it public,” the governor said

Recently the Kirinyaga County chief shifted camps to UDA party that is associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

Immediately after welcoming Waiguru, talks were rife that she had been headhunted by Ruto to usher her as his running mate.

“I cannot try to be ignorant and go against my people. I can't vote myself in, I am listening to what they want. Do they want me to run for governor a second term?” she posed, indicating that she was also open for a possible bigger office.

Should the presidential aspirants pick the two, it will be an interesting race that will liven up the two villages and Gichugu constituents and the Mount Kenya region if not the whole nation.

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