Azimio settles on seven panelists to pick Raila's running mate

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Head of Azimio la Umoja secretariat Raphael Tuju, Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Murang'a Women Representative Sabina Chege, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, ODM Party leader Raila Odinga, DAP-K Party Leader Wafula Wamunyinyi, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, MP Naomi Shaaban and council member Abdulahi Noor  after attending first Azimio council meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at KICC, Nairobi on April 21, 2022 [David Gichuru, Standard]

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga yesterday named the seven panelists who will pick his running mate.

Bishop Peter Njenga, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, Michael Orwa, Noah Wekesa, Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa and Beatrice Askul Moe are expected to present “a name, or names,” of the running mate candidate by May 10.

Azimio Secretary General Junet Mohamed told journalists in Nairobi that Raila arrived at the seven names after consultations with the Azimio council, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta and which includes Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Narc Kenya's Martha Karua.

Elizabeth Meyo, who is a member of Raila’s campaign board, will be the panel’s secretary. “The panel shall reach a decision through consensus and elect its chairperson,” Junet said.

The seven will vet candidates for the position, a process the Azimio Secretary General described as a matter of national importance, adding that they would establish the modalities that would guide their selection.

Azimio reportedly favours opinion polls in selecting Raila's running mate.

“They will develop their terms of reference but we have told them what we expect them to look at,” Junet added, pointing out principles such as fidelity to the Constitution that a prospective running mate must espouse.

“The eligible candidate must express, in word and deed… guiding principles to leadership and integrity… personal integrity in personal and private life,” he said.

The Suna East MP denied plans of selecting Raila's running mate through an alternative process, terming the route of a selection panel as international best practice.

“We have borrowed from mature democracies… the candidate does not want to make a decision solely. He wants to give Kenyans an opportunity to contribute,” he stated.

The panel is a result of talks that, according to Kalonzo, saw council members front names of those they wanted considered.