Raila defends running mate choice as Azimio coalition woos clerics

Raila Odinga (left) and his running mate Martha Karua with Father Joseph Mutie and Rev. Samwel Thiong'o after a meeting on May 23,2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential hopeful Raila Odinga has defended the choice of Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate.

Mr Odinga said Ms Karua is a capable leader who will add value to government should they win the August 9 elections. He said his political rivals had panicked following the excitement caused by Karua’s nomination.

“Our opponents have dismissed Mama Karua as just a woman after I named her my running mate. I want to tell them that I have full confidence in her and we shall pull Kenya from the jaws of corruption,” said Mr Odinga.

The Azimio presidential candidate said Ms Karua stood like a ‘man’ during the second liberation struggle in the ‘90s and that time was ripe for women leaders to sit at the decision-making table.

“Former UK Prime Minister Margret Thatcher and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel have left rich legacies in their countries. So our opponents should divert their energies elsewhere and allow Karua to help Azimio form the next government,” he said.

Mr Odinga spoke when he met more than 300 religious leaders from African Independent Churches from across the 47 counties at Wonder Joy Grounds along Kiambu Road. He urged the religious leaders to preach peace ahead of the elections. 

“Unless we change tack, another 50 years coming we shall be where we are. Even God helps those who are ready to help themselves and not those who are relying on handouts. Time has come for Kenyans to change direction to restore the dignity of our country,” he told the gathering. 

The Azimio leader urged churches to join efforts to fight graft and bad governance.

“As Azimio, we are determined to turn around Kenya’s economy to be at par with the Asian Tigers like South Korea which used to compete with Kenya in the same league,” he said.

Ms Karua asked the clergy to preach peace during the campaign period. She said the Azimio campaign team will not be distracted by insults by their opponents. 

“We are selling policies and not insults. I wish to assure Kenyans we shall execute our mandate as provided for by law. I know Raila is a workaholic and stickler for the rule of law and I urge you as church leaders to support our team,” she said.

The Azimio leaders were accompanied by Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed among other leaders.