Front runners Kalonzo, Karua could appear before Azimio running mate selection panel

Applicants for Raila Odinga's running mate, so far, include Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua (Narc Kenya). [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition’s search for Raila Odinga's running mate has gathered moment with vetting of candidates expected to commence this week.

In a statement, Azimio indicated that those who will go through the process are persons with an existing record in public service.

“Rt. Hon Raila Odinga is giving this process mandated by the coalition's supreme body the seriousness it deserves. All the eminent Kenyans being considered for this important position of service to Kenyans will be meeting the selection panel on various days between May 4 and May 10,” read the statement in part.

Some of the issues to be looked at by the seven-member selection panel include fidelity to the Constitution, integrity in public and private life, discipline and commitment in service to the people, objectivity and impartiality in decision making.

The candidates should also not have a record of engaging in nepotism, favouritism, other improper motives, or corrupt practices

Even though the process of picking a running mate has remained a critical factor within the coalition, it was on April 27, that Raila named the panelists to pick the running mate.

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

The coalition’s Secretary-General Junet Mohamed explained last week that the panel was arrived at following consultations by the Azimio council and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“They will develop their terms of reference but we have told them what we expect them to look at,” said Junet.

The last month has seen a push by groups within Azimio over who should be the running mate in the August 9 election.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has openly declared that he is best suited for the position having been Raila's running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

The women’s league within Azimio has also pushed for a woman to be selected as running mate.

However, the selection of a running mate is a headache for the coalition having in mind that a strong and influential running mate can be a lucky trump card in a tight race.

In Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance, the running mate issue has not generated heat  with Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua saying that the decision has been left to the DP.