Odinga picks Martha Karua as running mate ahead of Kenya's August presidential election

ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua during a political rally.

What you need to know:

  • This year's presidential contest is shaping up to be a two-horse race between Ruto and Raila Odinga, a former political prisoner and prime minister who has secured Kenyatta's support.
  • William Ruto, 54, was initially anointed by Kenyatta as his successor but found himself marginalised after the 2018 pact between the president and former foe Odinga. 
  • Since then Ruto has positioned himself as a leader looking to upend the status quo and stand up for the "hustlers" trying to survive in a country ruled by "dynasties" -- a reference to the Kenyatta and Odinga families which have dominated politics for decades. 

Kenya's presidential aspirant Raila Odinga has named Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate in the country's high-stakes election in August.
Speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Mr Odinga praised Ms Karua for her zeal and human rights record.

"I needed a true Joshua on my corner, one who will not be a turn coat. After  along search and reflection, together with consultation, I have arrived at the decision that the holder of this position must be a woman," the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag bearer said.

He added: "The office of the DP is a workshop which cannot compete with the presidency. The holder must be a co-worker"

After reviewing the committee report I have nominated Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the Chief Cabinet Secretary to help me form the Azimio government. 

"I also nominate Kenneth Marende as the speaker of the senate. I also nominate Oparanya as CS for Treasury," he said. 

Mr  Odinga also proposed Mr Peter Munya as CS Agriculture and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho as CS for lands, to deal with the land issues especially at the coast. 

In her acceptance speech, Ms Karua said she was happy to deputize Mr. Odinga, congratulating her other running mates hopefuls. 

"I am deeply honored by the decision to nominate me as the deputy president of the coalition. i am aware of the responsibility and this nomination is a collective honour that cannot be left f me alone to savor. It is personal journey but also a national journey," she said. 

She added; "We are going to do more in the area of social-economic rights. Together, we can finally bring to life the dreams deferred." she said. 

M Karua's choice has split Azimio which saw Wiper Kenya party leader Kalonzo Musyoka bolt out. 

In a separate press conference, Mr Musyoka wished Ms Karua well. 

"I wish Raila's running mate Martha Karua well. We have agreed to go our separate ways. I told Raila the decision to pick Karua will be met with a lot of opposition. OKA will be alone and very soon Wiper will be launching its own manifesto," he said. 

Ms Karua, who joined the Azimio team in March has been crisscrossing the country drumming up support for Mr Odinga. 

Last week, she attended the running mate interviews where she said she would accept the verdict of the interviewing panel. 

"I went for the interviews without any set conditions... I went knowing the situation there and I will continue working with them regardless of the outcome," she said.

She went on to drum up support for Mr Odinga, saying that his record was unmatched to anyone opposing his candidature.

"My history and that of Raila are similar. He is a patriot that has fought for human rights all his life. I am in Azimio because I know Raila has the interest of the people at heart... even when he is wronged he makes decisions based on the people's interest," she said.

Ms Karua said the Azimio leader has a record of standing with Kenyans and thus the best suited to be president.

“When we consider the incidences of 2002, 2007 and 2013 we can all agree that he (Raila) put his interest aside for the sake of Kenyans. What kind of leader do we want if not someone who put the interest of Kenyans first? No other side has such a leader,” she noted.

She asked Kenyans while going to cast their vote to consider the person and not the party.

“Let us weigh all these people and see what kind of people they are… there are good and bad people on both sides but no one comes close to Raila,” she said adding that the Azimio government will ensure they ward off cartels and seal all corruption loopholes.

Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe has lauded Azimio flag bearer Raila Odinga for his choice of Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate, saying she is better placed to fight for the interests of Mt Kenya region and the country. 

Mr Murathe said Mr Odinga and Ms Karua ticket will charm the country, with the possibility of the country having the first female Deputy President since independence. 

"Martha is somebody who can secure the interests of Mt Kenya as Uhuru (President Kenyatta) goes home.

"So they need somebody like Martha who can excite the vote in Mt Kenya and the country," Mr Murathe said. 
Ms Karua, he said, "will appeal to the women and appeal to the forces of democratization which she has fought for." 

Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe said that even anti-corruption crusaders will now know the fight against corruption with Ms Karua and Jakom,

"She has everything going for her," Mr Murathe said adding that Ms Karua will fight for the Mt Kenya community and serve their interests. 

"When the community feels insecure now that they don’t have a candidate, they need a  fighter next to Jakom to take care of their interests."

He described Ms Karua as principled.

"She will be able to insulate Jakom and will not take nonsense.

"Those who think they will go to distract Jakom, they will have to pass through her first." 

The Jubilee official pointed out that the choice of Ms Karua is vital for Mr Odinga interms of the value of the vote, chemistry and will excite the vote base – both Mt Kenya and women base.

"This is the person who can do it. She will take Ruto head on – on corruption wi

A lawyer by profession, Ms Karua graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1980 and the Kenya School of Law in 1981.

She worked as a magistrate before leaving to start her law firm and was instrumental in the treason trial of former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere.

At the risk of being blacklisted by the Kanu regime, she defended several human rights activists.

Ms Karua would later plunge into politics and was elected MP for Gichugu constituency in 1992 and became the Democratic Party's legal affairs secretary in 1993.

She served as minister for Water Resources Management and Development in the late President Mwai Kibaki’s administration between 2003 and 2008 before she was appointed minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, where she served until April 6, 2009, when she resigned from the government.

She is celebrated for championing the Water Act 2002, which accelerated the pace of water reforms and improved related services. She is also known for the fight for democracy, the second liberation and constitutional change.

*Authored by Justus Ochieng'

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.