Bold Karua finds her place in Azimio
Not until she openly offered to support Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential bid did Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua feature prominently in the political arrangements.
She was an unlikely candidate for the position of running mate in any other leading coalitions and had retreated back to Kirinyaga where she was seeking to dislodge Governor Anne Waiguru.
While several leaders from Mt Kenya were jostling to be Deputy President William Ruto and former Premier Raila Odinga’s running mate, Karua expressed no interest.
But the Narc Kenya leader, who was initially a long shot candidate, elbowed out front-runners such as Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth to emerge on the top of what has been described as a historic ticket.
Many Azimio backers had launched onslaught against Karua following her opposition to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila’s constitutional reform project-Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) leading to its fall, and being part of One Kenya Alliance (OKA) that fashioned itself as a third force.
Though categorical that she would not support DP Ruto because the “finds him totally unsuitable” for leadership, Karua a former cabinet minister who had run for State House in 2013 elections in which Raila was a participant, had not openly embraced the Azimio la Umoja chief until few weeks go.
But changing political dynamics, especially the battleground Mt Kenya and headstrong character emerged to render her the region’s favourite as Raila’s running mate.
Sources privy to the selection indicated revealed the former cabinet minister was picked due to a strong persuasion that she was best placed to “checkmate Raila,” and be the “eye” of Mt Kenya around the presidency.
While making an entry to her Kirinyaga home base yesterday, Karua appeared keen to calm Mt Kenya residents that they had no reason to be nervous about a Raila presidency saying that she has been their defender.
“You (Mt Kenya people) all know how I always stand with you. Do you think where I stand things can go wrong? Do you think Mt Kenya can go in the wrong direction where Peter Munya are? Don’t be lied to, do not make a mistake when making your calculations. Remember this time the horse is just one, and it’s Azimio,” she said during her homecoming.
“Today, we are just starting. We will come back to do weeding and watering (more campaigns for Azimio) because I want by the time we finish, all the Mt Kenya region will be in Azimio. Do not go for people who cannot protect your resources because whatever they will be telling you will be false promises,” Karua said yesterday in Kutus.
Karua yesterday made an entry into her Gichugu constituency, a day after her nomination to the position. Hundreds of locals closed their businesses and poured onto the streets to welcome Karua.
Accompanied by several leaders from the Mt Kenya region including Agriculture CS Munya, Interior Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Kieni lawmaker Kanini Kega, Jubilee party Secretary Jeremiah Kioni and Mwea MP Kabinga Wathayu, Karua made several stopovers in the county urging locals to support Raila Odinga election bid.
History Professor Macharia Munene says given her past conduct there she emerged as brave woman when confronting the late retired President Daniel Moi she had proved the region will be safe in her hands if Raila wins the presidency.
“Karua is a very strong woman who stands up to her principles,” Munene says.
Former Mukurei-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando says political coalitions have been scrambling for her because of her steadfastness, consistency and bold personality based on her reformist credentials. “Martha Karua represents a declining breed of nonconformists who are untainted with corruption scandals. Karua is woman enough, but if need arose she can also be the only ‘man’ in the house. She is the only potential leader who can say no to cajolery or blackmail,” says Nyeri senate aspirant.
During the disputed 2007 elections, Karua put up a very strong fight in defence of President Kibaki represented him in the Serena talks.
Addressing residents, Karua dismissed the Kenya Kwanza Alliance brigade saying they lacked an agenda for the country.
Karua said the alliance led by Deputy President William Ruto had failed Kenyans and should not be given chance to lead the country. The Narc Kenya party leader also called on Mt Kenya leaders to embrace and support Raila so that he can win.