Azimio la Umoja is not a political marriage of convenience, says Martha Karua

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga with his running mate Martha Karua. [Dennish Ochieng, Standard]

Martha Karua has dispelled notions that her 2022 presidential run with Raila Odinga is a political marriage of convenience.

Speaking Tuesday night during a joint media conference, Karua defended her move to support Odinga.

Karua said their union is the culmination of their partnership in the fight for multi-party democracy and constitutional reform.

“We were competitors in 2013. And, if you are competitors, you go for it and your competition. This is the only time we were strictly not on the same side. We come from the same background - from the trenches fighting for expanded democracy. But it does not mean that when you are on the same side, you must see everything 100 per cent, [or] the same way,” said Karua.

She said her earlier hard stance against Odinga before making a running mate u-turn was not a testament to the adage that politics makes strange bedfellows, but a recognition that their track record presents the best leadership in the fight against graft, promotion of social transformation and good governance.

“In 2005, we were on two opposing sides; the banana and orange camps. In 2007 we were, again, not together. But we came together in the National Accord, and, worked well. In 2013, it was every person for themselves and God for us all, because we were both candidates. Shortly after that, in 2014, we worked together - Narc Kenya was a friend of CORD. We've worked together more than we’ve worked separately,” said Karua.

According to Karua, the Azimio manifesto, which focuses on several key areas including responsible leadership, mirrors that of her party, Narc-Kenya, and should be adopted by Kenyans on the ballot as it is the best bet come August 9.

“We both come from a social justice background... We have more in common than that which separates us. And this is not just for convenience. It is for the sake of Kenya. We are in a very dangerous place where we can lose all that we have built. What we need in Kenya today is good leadership that can take the nation forward. I joined my principal [Odinga] to do just that,” said Karua.

Azimio victory

To beat their main challenger, the DP William Ruto-led Kenya Kwanza Alliance, Karua called for accountability in the electoral process. She urged the electorate to be vigilant against actions that would disrepute the August 9 poll.

The Narc-Kenya leader noted that measures that contribute to a culture of integrity and fairness through accountable and transparent institutions must be enhanced.

“We all, from the polling clerk, presiding officer, returning officer and everybody involved in the electoral process including candidates, supporters, security agencies, have a responsibility to make the election free, fair and credible,” said Karua.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), she added, must live to its mandate and guard against the manipulation of the polling exercise. 

“I sued and sought to prosecute privately four electoral officials arising from the malpractices in Kirinyaga County in 2017. Although the court did not allow the private prosecution, an appeal is pending. Whether I’ll prosecute it or not, is another issue,” said Karua. 

She went on, “Don’t hide behind an institution. When you do wrong, it is like declaring war on Kenyans, and they can come for you. Our constitution does allow it. Let us all do our best, even as we put Chebukati and his team to task.”