Azimio allays fears of split in running mate selection panel


Azimio running mate selection panel briefing by Chairman Noah Wekesa on May 7,  2022. [David Gichuru, Standard]


Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Political party Secretary General Junet Mohamed has dispelled claims of division within the running mate selection panel.

This comes after Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, a member of the panel disapproved the decision to add Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu's name after what he said was a “decision unanimously taken by the panel over the seven shortlisted names”- Ms Ngilu’s name became the eighth.

“These other things of friendship, emotions and activism does not help in winning votes,” said the senator.

Mr Wambua’s sentiments have hinted to a fallout within the seven-member panel- something that Junet has termed mere “speculation.”

“My view is let’s give them (the panel) time to deliver their report. We can only be put to task after they present their report, before that, we will be speculating and we will be anticipating debate that is not good,” said the Azimio secretary general.

Tasked with proposing the most favourable candidate for Azimio’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga, the panel has been at the centre of contention especially from Wiper allied politicians who felt it was demeaning for it to call for interviews of running mate candidate.

Last week, the panel changed tactic and called on constituent parties within the coalition to propose names of individuals for consideration as running mate instead of the initially slated interviews that were to take place between May 4 and 10.

The panel will on Monday and Tuesday engage candidates shortlisted for running mate.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has insisted that he will not appear before the panel for interviews.

Mr Musyoka has maintained that he is the most suitable candidate for the position of running mate owing to his experience as vice president and having been Mr Odinga's running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections

“I want to tell all Kenyans that I will not attend the said process. I find the entire thing demeaning to my person and will therefore distance myself from it,” he said.

However, Junet argues that the panel has set out protocols on how to conduct its mandate and will proceed as it deems fit regardless of how individuals feel about the procedures.

“How they will do their work is up to them, who will appear before them and who will not appear before them is up to them,” he said.

So far, there are 11 potential running mate with a recent addition of Deputy ODM leader Wycliffe Oparanya, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

The panel will finalise the selection process by tomorrow, May 10.