Know your future deputy president

Ruth Mucheru Mutua

Agano Party  presidential running mate Ruth Mucheru Mutua (centre) arrives at CUEA for deputy presidential debate on July 19, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat| Nation Media Group

The atmosphere at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) should be electric Tuesday evening, when the four presidential candidate running mates show up to debate.

As the presidential debate establishes itself as a vital component of Kenya’s electoral democracy, it serves as an increasingly important platform for candidates to showcase their manifestos, demonstrate their grasp of issues and distinguish themselves from their opponents.

Here are the profiles of the running mates who will be taking part in tonight’s debate.

Ruth Mucheru Mutua

She is David Mwaure Waihiga‘s running mate and a member of Agano Party.

Ms Mutua is a communications expert who until her nomination as the running mate, was working at Telkom (Orange) as a sales administration manager.

She has also worked as a customer care representative across different companies. 

Agano Party presidential candidate David Mwaure and his running mate Ruth Mutua.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

She began her education at State House Primary School and proceeded to Visa Oshwal Girls High School.

She later enrolled at the Kenya Institute of Business Training -Diploma in Logistics, Materials, and Supply chain management (2004-2005). She holds a Bachelor's Degree, Communication and Sociology from the University of Nairobi.

Justina Wambui Wamae

Born in the Kibera slums in a family of two siblings, 35-year-old Justina Wambui Wamae was in the construction industry as a manager, before her nomination as the running mate to Prof George Wajackoyah of the Roots Party.

She has had her journey in politics after contesting for the first time the Mavoko parliamentary seat on an independent ticket.

This is after she lost in the Jubilee party nominations exercise. In the 2017 elections, she also worked as the chair lady of the “Warembo na Uhuru” movement in the larger Machakos County. 

Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah and his running mate Justina Wamae.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Although she advocates for the legalisation of bhang, Ms Wamae in a previous interview said she has never smoked bhang in her life but she would give it a try on the day of swearing in after the August 9 polls. 

In a previous media interview, Ms Wamae revealed that although she has never smoked bhang in her entire life, she would be interested to smoke it on the day of their swearing in after the August 9 polls. 

She holds a Master’s Degree in Purchasing and Logistics from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat).

Ms Wamae is married to Alex Kanyi whom she met in 2017. They are blessed with a  three-year-old daughter.

Geoffrey Rigathi Gachagua

Born in 1965 in Hiriga village of Mathira constituency, Nyeri County, Mr Gachagua is the eighth born child of Nashashon Gachagua Reriani and Martha Kirigo.

His parents were Mau Mau freedom fighters in Mt Kenya Forest where his father was building and servicing guns for the fighters. He enrolled at Kabiruini Primary School from 1971 to 1977 before proceeding to Kianyaga High School for his O-levels and A-levels. 

He has Bachelor of Arts Degree; Political Science and Literature from the University of Nairobi, which he earned in 1988.

While at the university he served as the Nyeri District University Students Association leader as well as the chairman of The Association of Literature Students.

After graduating, he received Paramilitary training at Administration Police Institute in 1990. He also studied Advanced Public Administration Course at the Kenya School of Government between 1999 and 2000.

Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Mr Gachagua was employed for a short time at the Kenya's Ministry of Home Affairs & National Heritage before he joined Administration Police Institute in 1990.

After graduating from the Administration Police Institute, Mr Gachagua was posted at the Office of the then president Daniel Arap Moi, as a District Officer Cadet between 1991 and 1992.

He then went on to serve as a District Officer in Kakamega, Ng’arua and Laikipia districts. Between 1999 and 2000, he joined Kenya School of Government where he graduated with a Diploma in Advanced Public Administration.

Between 2001 and 2006, he worked as the Personal Assistant to Uhuru Kenyatta.

Between 2007 and 2017, Mr Gachagua remained behind the scenes running his businesses before making his first stab for the Mathira MP seat which he won.

In that race, he edged out a bitter rival Phyllis Wambura Maranga who had claimed she had been rigged out of the Jubilee Party primaries.

He is facing a graft case and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has applied to freeze some of his bank accounts.

Martha Wangari Karua

Martha Wangari Karua (born September 22,1957) is a long-standing member of parliament for Gichugu constituency and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

She is the daughter of Jackson Karua and Josephine Wanjiru. She was brought up in the village of Kimunye in Kirinyaga as the second child in a family of eight, four girls and four boys.

She studied law at the University of Nairobi from 1977 to 1980. Between 1980 and 1981 she was enrolled at the Kenya School of Law for the statutory postgraduate law course.

After graduating, from 1981 to 1987 Ms Karua worked as a magistrate in various courts including those at Makadara, Nakuru and Kibera, receiving credit for careful discernment. In 1987, she left to start her own law firm, Martha Karua & Co. Advocates, which she ran until 2002. 

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Ms Karua became the MP for Gichugu constituency in 1992 and the first woman lawyer to be popularly elected to Parliament. She was elected as the Democratic Party’s legal affairs secretary in 1993.

She was Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister in the Cabinet appointed by Mwai Kibaki on January 8, 2008 after the controversial December 2007 election. She resigned on April 6, 2009 citing frustrations.  She was the first Minister to resign voluntarily since 2003.

She also previously served as the Minister of Water Resources Management & Development, and was behind the implementation of the Water Act 2002, which has since then accelerated the pace of water reforms and service provision in Kenya.

In an interview with BBC's HARDtalk in January 2008, Karua said, regarding the 2007 post election violence,she said that while the government had anticipated that the opposition then led by Raila Odinga might have planned mayhem if they lost", it was surprised by "the magnitude" of it, calling the violence "ethnic cleansing". 

Ms Karua headed the government's team in negotiations with the opposition regarding the political dispute that resulted from the election. 

The political crisis eventually led to the signing of a power-sharing deal between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

She was endorsed as the national chairperson of the NARC-Kenya political party on 15 November 2008.

There was virtually no competitive election during the party's national delegates' convention at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi as all the officials including Ms Karua were being endorsed.

After her endorsement, she immediately declared she would be gunning for presidency in the Kenya's 2012 elections. 

Ms Karua contested the 2013 Kenyan presidential election, under the NARC Kenya party ticket. She came in sixth with 43,881 votes in a contested election outcome.

Ms Karua would make a come-back in Kenya's political scene in the 2017 General Election seeking for a gubernatorial seat in Kirinyaga County that she he lost to the current Governor Anne Waiguru in a heavily contested election after garnering 122, 091 votes against Ms Waiguru's 161,373 votes.

Ms Karua contested the election citing irregularities and filed a petition at the High Court seeking to have Ms Waiguru's election nullified but lost the petition's at the High court, Court of Appeal and ultimately at the Supreme Court.

She proceeded to file a petition in the East African Court of Justice suing Kenya government for failure of its judicial arm to dispense justice in the petition.  

In December 2015, Ms Karua admitted to receiving Sh2million "donation" to her presidential campaign costs from British American Tobacco. She said that she thought that the contribution by Paul Hopkins, a BAT employee, was a personal donation. The money was paid via Mary M'Mukindia who was running her campaign.

No culpability

She has the reputation of being untainted by corruption save for this report of donation of alleged tainted money. No culpability has been proven and the British investigations concluded without any charges against Paul Hopkins.

Ms Karua has maintained that she cannot be corrupted and invited Kenyan authorities to investigate any alleged wrong doing.

On 20 September 2021, she was unanimously elected as the Interim Mount Kenya Unity Forum Spokesperson by a section of leaders from Central Kenya.

“We have chosen Ms  Karua to be our official convener and our spokesperson,” Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said then

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