Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition running mate Martha Karua has hit out at Mt Kenya candidates in the coalition who are not campaigning for presidential candidate Raila Odinga, urging them not to be intimidated by the crowds.
Ms Karua said when she started campaigning for Mr Odinga after being named his running mate, she was heckled several times but she stayed put.
Her concerns stem from the large number of Azimio-allied politicians who are hesitant to campaign for Mr Odinga in the Mt Kenya region, fearing they will be shunned by voters due to the huge support Deputy President William Ruto and his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party enjoy in the region.
She asked the politicians not to “buy fear” or give in to intimidation, but instead boldly sell the Azimio la Umoja and Mr Odinga’s agenda.
“You are either with us or not. There are some politicians within Azimio who are asking for their votes but when it comes to the presidential race, they tell voters to decide for themselves and we will not allow that,” she said.
Ms Karua was addressing a rally at the Meru showground Thursday, where she was flanked by her host, Governor Kiraitu Murungi, his deputy Titus Ntuchiu and Igembe North MP Maoka Maore.
Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia were also present.
Don’t fear being heckled
“We have bought fear, which will not help us and the problem is politicians who say Mr Odinga has not been accepted in the region. The truth of the matter is that wananchi have not rejected Azimio la Umoja,” Ms Karua said.
“Politicians don’t fear being heckled. When you address a crowd and they shout at you, talk to them nicely and explain that you are not interested in a shouting match. They will listen to you but don’t be intimidated,” she added.
Mr Murungi said before Ms Karua was named Mr Odinga’s running mate, “there was political fog” in Mt Kenya region.
“I used to mention Raila’s name and people would tell me that I risked losing votes. But now we are happy that Azimio is being accepted in the region. We know for sure that Mr Odinga will be the fifth president of Kenya,” he said.
Leaders who addressed the rally said the Azimio la Umoja ticket was more credible than DP Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance, adding that Mr Odinga and Ms Karua were the best suited to lead Kenya and fight corruption.
Ms Kananu and Prof Kobia asked women to stand with Azimio, saying Kenyan women should demonstrate that they are with Ms Karua.
Mr Ntuchiu said Mr Odinga has pledged to help increase allocations to the counties and to protect devolution.