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‘RaRua’ it is! Raila Odinga picks Martha Karua as running mate

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has named Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate.

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 turncoat. After a long search and reflection, together with consultation, I have arrived at the decision that the holder of this position must be a woman,” Mr Odinga said

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

Odinga also nominated Kalonzo Musyoka to his cabinet even though it remains to be seen if he will accept the nomination.

“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 Wycliffe 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.

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 Railas 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.

“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,” 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.

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.