Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential aspirant Raila Odinga’s wife has backed the selection of a female candidate as a running mate for her husband.
Mrs Ida Odinga expressed confidence that picking a woman would bolster the political participation of women and strengthen their leadership and influence in politics and public service.
Because women voters’ numbers can sway the presidential election, she said, they need to be involved in critical decision-making positions in order to promote gender equality.
“Women face a lot of hurdles in the political arena. Having one of us as the second in command would therefore encourage us and ensure that our issues are well taken care of at the top decision-making organ,” she said.
Citing the recent Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) primaries, she said the party failed to conduct proper voting for the benefit of all participants.
“It was painful for me to see some women crying over [how voting] was conducted in some areas. We want protection and those [responsible for supervising elections] must ensure a credible and transparent exercise,” she said.
Mrs Odinga, who was the chief guest during the 70th anniversary celebrations for the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO) at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, lauded Azimio for considering three women for the position of Deputy President.
Considered for the position
Expressing their preparedness to take up the role, Ms Karua and Ms Chege affirmed that they would remain firm in Azimio.
“Without giving any condition, I will remain committed in my support for Mr Odinga’s fifth bid at the presidency as I believe he has the potential of turning around the fortunes of this country,” Ms Karua said.
“It is unfortunate that some people have been relying on unverified promises and were hoping to be given the presidency on a silver platter.”
The Narc-Kenya leader urged political leaders to desist from abusive rhetoric, cautioning against bashing Mr Odinga because of his age.
“Despite his age, former President Mwai Kibaki is credited with transforming the economy of this country to greater levels,” she said.
As political campaigns enter the homestretch, Ms Chege said she and other women supporters of Mr Odinga will go door to door to campaign for him.
“Under the ‘Sauti ya Baba’ campaign, women leaders allied to the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance will form a huge women’s movement to rally women across the country to vote for Mr Odinga,” she said.
Reach the hearts of women
“[We] want to reach one million women with Azimio la Kina Mama to be launched soon. We know a mother is the foundation of any homestead and if we are able to reach the hearts of women, Mr Odinga will be the fifth President.”
She also accused Deputy President William Ruto of harbouring selfish interests in pushing for the rejection of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) on the grounds it was intended to create more positions at the top.
“Kenyans are now coming to know the kind of person he has been. Mama mboga has no place in his big line-up,” she said, referring to the Kenya Kwanza coalition’s agreement on sharing positions.
MYWO chairperson Rahab Muiu expressed support for Mr Odinga’s bid and called on women to turn up in large numbers to vote on August 9.
“I call on women not to gamble with their future and vote wisely. We believe that Mr Odinga has all it takes to take the country forward,” she said.