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The night meetings that secured Martha Karua running mate position

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe with former Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Chairman Zipporah Kittony and her daughter rosemary Kittony during the launch of Zipporah's memoir book launch titled 'Sheer Grit' at the Capital club, Westlands Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The nomination of Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s running mate did not come on a silver plate, it has now been revealed.

It involved many late night meetings and intense lobbying from influential women leaders in the country who were pushing to have a bigger say in the next government.

Zipporah Kittony, a former nominated senator who also served as chairperson of the Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO) for 11 years, was among those who lobbied for the nomination of Karua as Raila’s running mate.

  This was revealed on Friday during the launch of Ms Kittony’s memoir, Sheer Grit, at Capital Club in Westlands, which was presided over by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

“You have been a mother to many of us. You are courageous, a go-getter and a woman made of steel. The best gift you gave us this year is by championing for the nomination of Martha Karua as Raila’s running mate,” said Rahab Muiu, the current Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairlady.

She went on: “We know the struggles you went through together with other women leaders in championing to have Karua as the deputy president designate. You led the way and we followed and today we are celebrating you as a champion of women rights."

Ms Muiu said they still want to have many women in politics in a bid to ensure women are treated equally like men, adding that with Karua at the helm of power, their interests will be taken care of.

Kagwe said by her pushing for Karua’s nomination, Kittony did not surprise him, noting that even when they served as senators in the 11th Parliament, she was the link between Senate and State House when things were not working out.

“If the President was in a bad mood regarding the way we were transacting our business, the only person who we would sent to State House to cool him down was Kittony. She also helped cooled temperatures in the Senate when we had hot debates that could lead to fist fights,” said Kagwe.

He went on: “Kittony has done her bit and we have Karua as Raila’s running mate. Going forward if you are in doubt, Karua is the next deputy president of Kenya and if you meet her, greet her well since she is going to be the second most powerful person in the country."

Kagwe said that democracy in Kenya has matured and that when Azimio ascends to power, the nation shall remain united and stronger than ever.

Others present were Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, Nairobi Women Rep Esther Passaris, former Cabinet minister Kipruto Kirwa, former assistant minister Peter Kenneth, Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu, Daystar University Vice Chancellor Prof Laban Ayiro and Lady Justice (Rtd) Effie Owuor.

Ms Kittony, however, gave politics a wide berth when she stood to speak and only focused on her book. She spoke of the cordial relationship she enjoyed with President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who encouraged her to write her autobiography.

She said the many things she has accomplished while championing for women’s rights was because she was courageous and had the interests of women at heart.

“We were born 12 siblings, nine of them are girls. The reason I talk tough when addressing issues of national importance is because where I come from, people of my age are go-getters and are allowed to talk bravely as they are assumed to have wisdom which I also have,” said Kittony.

Her son, Kiprono Kittony, said his mother is an icon and a gifted person who was not at peace whenever she heard that a woman somewhere was being unfairly treated.