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Jubilee leaders plead with Raila to pick Peter Kenneth as running mate

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga with former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth in Kiambu, on Tuesday. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The Murang’a Azimio team yesterday pleaded with Raila Odinga to pick former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth as his running mate.

Led by MPs Sabina Chege (Murang’a), Joseph Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga) and Peter Kimari (Mathioya), the leaders said Kenneth has been working with Raila since 2019 when he was charged with the responsibility of uniting the Kikuyu and the Luo communities through the elders. 

Nduati said it would be prudent if Raila picked a deputy from Murang’a which will guarantee him 85 per cent backing in the presidential race.

The main coalitions in the 2022 presidential race have been meeting their aspirants and nomination losers in Murang’a to solidify their support ahead of the elections.

On Tuesday, Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja separately met their aspirants and losers in Murang’a where they explored their options ahead of August 9.

At the Azimio la Umoja meeting held at the Thika Greens home of Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru, Azimio presidential contender Raila pleaded with those who lost in the negotiations and consultations to remain in Azimio saying they will be considered for positions in his government.

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition announced the formation of a selection panel to identify Raila’s running mate from a crowded field that includes Kenneth, Martha Karua, Wiper eader Kalonzo Musyoka and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

Kenneth said the Murang’a Azimio la Umoja committees will operate from the wards, constituency and the county levels to marshal votes for Raila and communicate regularly with the national body.

The former assistant minister said the local leadership supporting an Azimio bid will embark on aggressive campaigns to see the Jubilee Party candidates take all the parliamentary and ward seats.

“We have teams on the ground that will ensure we shall win against MPs Alice Wahome (Kandara), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Mary Waithira Wamaua (Maragua) as well as helping former minister Jamleck Kamau win the Murang’a governor seat,” said Kenneth.

He asked the aspirants to have Raila photos on their campaign posters saying they should not fear as he had garnered backing in other regions.

“Hapa tu Central ndiyo iko shida (The problem is only here in Central region), but we shall camp here and do aggressive campaigns through door to door strategy,” said Kenneth.

Raila said he has a long history with Murang’a people and recounted how he was detained alongside the late Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba during the clamour for return of multiparty democracy.

”I have never been a stranger in Central Kenya and my friends are also your friends with whom we shall forge ahead to liberate the country.”

He said he supported the political zoning saying in Murang’a where there are two senatorial aspirants from Azimio coalition, a poll will be conducted to determine the most favourable.

“To ensure there will be a win for the coalition, something will be done to ensure we have one candidate between Kembi Gitura and Pius Kinuthia Wambui,” said Raila.

The UDA meeting chaired by Senator Irungu Kang’ata also within the Thika Green’s club resolved to engage in aggressive campaigns to deal with the Azimio teams on the ground.

Present were MPs Wahome, Ndindi and Wamaua who said they were not worried as they were ready to defeat their opponents.

Other leaders present included Peter Kihungi (Kangema), Edwin Mugo (Mathioya),Joseph Munyoro (Kigumo) and Edward Muriu (Gatanga).

UDA woman representative aspirant Betty Njeri Maina, Senate aspirant Joe Nyutu and Murang’a UDA presidential campaign coordinator Johnson Mukuha were also in attendance.

Aspirants who lost in UDA primaries in Murang’a were urged to support those who won.

The winners and losers in the UDA primaries agreed that the group will conduct joint campaigns in a show of solidarity.