Former Kenyan Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Martha Karua has emerged as a strong contender for Raila Odinga’s deputy presidential nominee before the May 16 deadline for submitting the names of the presidential candidates to the Electoral Commission.
Ms Karua, a veteran of Kenya’s pro-democracy movements of the 1990s, is reportedly at the top of a shortlist of three people presented to Mr Odinga by a panel appointed by him to present potential candidates for the position of President running mates were recommended.
She also cites former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Peter Kenneth, a former MP — the other names on the selection panel’s shortlist — in approval ratings for the position, according to the findings of one of the Nation Media Group commissioned opinion poll of April , the Her Publisher of The EastAfrican.
Mr Odinga, the opposition leader who is running for the fifth time as presidential candidate with the support of President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 9 election, It will expects to still have the final say on who becomes his running mate in his Azimio One Kenya coalition. Deputy President William Ruto, the other frontrunner in the race to succeed President Kenyatta, is also said to have toyed with the idea of choosing a female running mate at one point.
But the woman most associated with the position in Dr. Ruto’s Kenyan Kwanza coalition – Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru – ranked quite poorly in the Nation opinion poll, finishing a distant third behind their male rivals Musalia Mudavadi and Kindiki Kithure.
She matches Ms Waiguru and Ms Karua as running mate would see them take their fierce local rivalry to the national stage – the two had been fighting for the Kirinyaga governor seat in the 2017 election. In by far the longest history of election-related legal complaints, Ms Karua challenged Ms Waiguru’s victory all the way to the East Africa Court of Justice, where judges found that the Kenyan courts had violated her right to a fair trial and awarded her $25,000 in damages.
The two are likely to face each other again in the Kirinyaga governor race if either or both miss the vice-presidential nomination. Odinga’s coalition has attracted particular attention from the Kenyan women’s rights movement, which has stepped up its lobbying of the leading presidential candidates to promote women to select fellow campaigners.
On Thursday, she was the center of attention at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization, the umbrella organization for grassroots women’s welfare groups, in Kisumu. Ida Odinga, the wife of the Azimio coalition’s presidential candidate, was the main guest of the event. Women hold 21.8 percent of the seats in the current Kenyan Parliament.
The Electoral Commission, under pressure from the women’s rights lobby, recently rejected the lists of people nominated by political parties for special seats such as youth, women and people with Disabilities for failing to respect the gender two-thirds rule.
Political parties have also set the stage for a better gender balance in the next parliament by directly nominating select female candidates in their strongholds in the recent primaries, which increases their chances of winning.
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