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Raila lauded for picking 'iron lady' Karua as presidency running mate

By Standard Team | May 17th 2022 | 2 min read
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga when he unveiled Martha Karua as his running mate at KICC. 

Mixed reactions characterised the naming of Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as the running mate of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Mr Odinga made the announcement yesterday, a day after Deputy President William Ruto picked Mr Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate. In Kakamega, ODM supporters took to the streets to celebrate Ms Karua’s nomination.

Women in a peaceful procession donned orange colours and brandished placards bearing the image of the Azimio presidential candidate. Lugari politician Nabii Nabwera, an ally of Mr Odinga, said Ms Karua is a reformist who has unmatched legal and political skills.  

Residents applauded Mr Odinga for considering gender balance in his leadership. They said Ms Karua will make history as the first DP if Azimio wins the election. ODM Busia governor aspirant Paul Otuoma said the Narc Kenya leader’s elevation was a victory for women. “She is a capable leader who is equal to the task.”

In Bungoma county, some residents welcomed Ms Karua’s nomination while others downplayed the matter. Rosemary Khaemba, a resident of Bungoma, hailed Ms Karua as an iron lady who deserves the number two slot.

“Karua was on the forefront fighting for multiparty democracy when no woman would dare do it,” she said.

Jentrix Kuloba from Webuye said the Narc Kenya leader’s nomination is a major boost to women trying to find their footing in leadership. “Women have for a long time been demeaned because the nature of our politics favours men, we are happy that Ms Karua has made history.” 

But Jonathan Wanjala, a boda boda rider in Bungoma town, cast doubt on the Narc Kenya leader’s ability to mobilise votes. “She is not popular in her Central backyard; it waits to be seen if she will add any value to Mr Odinga’s candidature.” 

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo welcomed Ms Karua’s nomination, saying the time was ripe for Kenya to have a woman DP. 

“Baba has done it. He has started the journey of inclusion by guaranteeing women representation in the next government.” 

Political pundit Joseph Simekha termed Mr Odinga’s choice of running mate a game-changer. Mr Simekha said Ms Karua’s nomination had a bigger impact compared to DP William Ruto’s choice Rigathi Gachagua. 

[Sharon Wanga, Omelo Juliet, Brian Kisanji and Jackline Inyanji]

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