Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party running mate Martha Karua has urged Mt Kenya residents to vote for presidential candidate Raila Odinga on August 9.
Ms Karua returned to her Kirinyaga backyard barely a week after she made whistle-stop tours in Mt Kenya counties to vouch for Mr Odinga’s candidacy.
Speaking in her Kirinyaga base, an upbeat Ms Karua called on residents to turn out in large numbers and vote for Mr Odinga, whom, she stressed, has lasting solutions for Kenya’s problems.
Addressing roadside rallies in Makutano, Pia, Ngurubani and Mutithi, Ms Karua pleaded with residents “to join other Kenyans and give Mr Odinga a chance to lead”.
“I know people from this region have not been voting for Odinga over the years. But this time I ask you to be generous enough and give him votes because of me,” she said.
“I shall fully represent you in Mr Odinga’s government and therefore cast your votes in favour of the Azimio presidential candidate,” she said, asking residents to ensure she does not lose the “golden opportunity” of becoming the second most powerful leader in the country.
Accompanied by renowned musicians and other Azimio leaders, Ms Karua said Mt Kenya residents had been honoured by Mr Odinga and locals should reciprocate by overwhelmingly voting for him.
“If you want [Mr Odinga and I] to win in the first round, don’t divide your votes. You should ensure Azimio bags all the votes from this region where I was born and brought up,” she said.
Since independence, she said, women from the region have never been this close to the seat of power.
“Help me become the second-in-command. I’m ready to serve you as the Deputy President,” she said. Ms Karua said the Azimio team comprised of hard-working leaders who will restore the country’s lost glory.
She said she and Mr Odinga had been in the forefront in the fight against corruption and participated actively in the development of the country.
“When Odinga was the Roads minister, he designed and built many roads and I initiated water reforms as the Minister for Water. Both of us are known to be development conscious and we can do even better if we take over power,” she stated.
On Monday, Ms Karua dismissed politicians trying to pin 2007/2008 post-election violence on the existing political formations. Saying that “our politics have some actors who are pretending to be assistant Jesus in the way they quote the Bible,” Ms Karua dismissed campaigns that invoke the chaos as shallow and defeatist. The violence erupted after Mr Odinga disputed the presidential results declared by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) that was chaired by Mr Samuel Kivuitu.
The ECK announced Mwai Kibaki as the winner by 4,584,721 votes (46 per cent) in the December 27, 2007 General Election. Mr Odinga came second with 4,352,993 (44.07 per cent), a result he rejected. In the ensuing chaos, over 1, 500 people died and over 600, 000 were displaced.
“The violence cannot be blamed on any wing... it was collective. There are those who were with Mr Odinga…like Deputy President William Ruto…There were others in the opposing wing…But that is history. There is none who can be made to carry the cross,” she said.
Ms Karua was giving a joint live interview on Mt Kenya vernacular radio and TV stations financed by the Mt Kenya Foundation.
Ms Karua said the violence was pacified by a series of meetings and negotiations that led to the formation of a government of national unity that saw Mr Odinga named Prime Minister and some of his loyalists made cabinet ministers.
“We were both [Kibaki and Odinga wings] to blame. That is why we negotiated and agreed [to share power]. We are now supposed to be rated [on the basis of these events instead of] how we embarked on serving the country afterwards,” she said.