Inside Politics

Upbeat Raila, Karua on Narok charm offensive

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 00:10 | By
Azimio-One Kenya coalition presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga campaigns at the William ole Ntimama Stadium in Narok town, yesterday. PD/ GEORGE SAYAGIE

Azimio-One Kenya coalition presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga has defended his choice of Martha Karua as deputy, saying  the decision was informed by the long struggle by women to get space in national leadership.

Raila, who returned to the campaign trail to drum up support for his ‘Baba na Mama’ ticket in Narok county, lashed out at Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate accusing him of demeaning Karua while campaigning in Mt Kenya last week. 

Karua pitched tent in Mt Kenya region  last week. Yesterday, she received a rousing welcome in Narok where the duo addressed their first joint rally since was unveiled as the running mate. She was the centre of attention at the rally, where women leaders took turns to thank Raila for nominating her as his running mate. 

“Eti wanasema Karua ni yule ka mama ... aheshimu wamama, na kama asio wamama hangezaliwa. (He is saying Karua is a small woman; he doesn’t respect women and if it was not for women he would not have been born,” said Raila.

Speaking in Narok at several rallies in his two-day tour of the county, the former premier said his government would have a 50-50 share with women to close the gender inequality gap, besides targeting maginalised communities including Maasai.

Raila and the Azimio brigade, among them Senator Ledama ole Kina, governor aspirants and Narok North MP Moitale ole Kenta, senate hopeful Gideon Konchella (MP Kilgoris), Junet Muhammed (Suna East), Simba Arati (Kisii governor aspirant) and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, held rallies in Kilgoris, Enoosaen and Lolgorian in Kilgoris constituency.

Raila vowed to stop the ongoing demarcation of Loita Forest after the community told him it was being done against their will. He said the issue of forests is an emotive one, reiterating his fight for restoration of Maasai Mau ecosystem.“I hear they have promised if they take over power they will allow illegal settlers to go back to the forest; I ask the community to protest and never allow that to happen again,” said Raila.

Mega rally at stadium

On his last leg on Sunday, he was joined by Karua and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu. The team toured Narok South and Narok North and held rallies at Loita, Entasekera and Naroosura ... and a mega rally at William ole Ntimama Stadium in Narok town.

Karua wooed the Maasai community, urging them to vote for them to take over leadership from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Speaking in Loita after a church service, Karua said it’s time the girl child and women of Kenya get a voice and this will only happen if the Raila presidency wins in the August 9 poll.

“ Protection of the forests in the country and infrastructure development will only be achieved if Raila is elected as president,” she told a jubilant crowd.

“We have come here to seek your votes with humility. Desist from individuals misusing young people to disrupt rallies of their opponents,” said Karua during which the issue of Mau restoration, gender equity and Maasai rights took centre stage.

Karua credited her running mate for expansion of roads in the country when he was Road minister and painted the Kenya Kwanza alliance of Deputy William Ruto as unfit for State House.  She also rallied voters with roots in Mt Kenya.

“I visited central Kenya after my nomination as running mate. I spoke to the people and there was a lot of excitement. Things have started changing.  If you are in Egypt, please come to Canaan. Listen to your mother,” she said in vernacular.  

Muhammed, Kenneth and ole Kina also lashed out at DP Ruto for what they said was demeaning language on Karua during his rallies in Nakuru and Mt Kenya region.

“Anaenda Naivasha, ati yule mama, huyo mama. Ako na jina anaitwa Karua na yeye ni afadhali kuliko yule Ruto amechukua,” (He is branding her as a woman; she has a name; she is called Karua, and she is better than Ruto’s choice), said Muhammed.

Ngilu warned Kenyans not to elect the Kenya Kwanza leadership since they will not be safe specifically on issues dealing with land. “They went to Mt Kenya and abused Karua; they are sensing defeat because the mountain has decided it is Raila and Karua,” said Kenneth.

Senator ole Kina said the Maa nation supports Raila’s women agenda and requested that the Maasai women should get 10 per cent of the slots in an Azimio la Umoja government. Raila promised a bag of goodies, including improved health, Agriculture and education to the Maasai community, noting the region has yet to fully capitalise on livestock farming despite it being one of the main economic activities.

“All these developments are the right of Kenyans, including access to clean drinking water, universal health care through Babacare, together with social protection for the vulnerable,” he added.

His tour has kicked off an epic battle for the Maa vote in Narok between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio. Next weekend, Kenya Kwanza candidate William Ruto will also visit the county.

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