Ngilu: I'm not angling for running mate post

Water minister Charity Ngilu has said August 31, 2012 she is not angling for the running mate post in the next General Election as she prepares to launch her presidential bid Sunday.

What you need to know:

  • Kitui Central MP has been touted as a possible running mate for Prime Minister Raila Odinga in next year’s elections.

  • Minister says her campaign is issue based.

Water minister Charity Ngilu has said she is not angling for the running mate post in the next General Election as she prepares to launch her presidential bid Sunday.

Ms Ngilu said she was not raising her profile by re-launching the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) to be considered for a joint ticket by presidential aspirants.

"That (being a running mate) has not been the position of the party. I will be tabling my candidature at the re-launch on Sunday and the delegates will decide whether to back it.

"My politics is not about personalities that you keep mentioning but about the issues I have outlined,” Mrs Ngilu said when she unveiled her manifesto to the media during a breakfast meeting at the Inter-Continental Hotel, Nairobi Friday.

Key contenders

The minister’s critics see Ms Ngilu’s bid for the presidency as a way of enhancing her chances of being chosen as a running mate by one of the key contenders for the presidency.

The Kitui Central MP has been touted as a possible running mate for Prime Minister Raila Odinga in next year’s elections.

On Friday, Ms Ngilu said that she has never been a member of ODM and will remain in her Narc party.

The minister said that her government would have five priority areas to focus on: eradicating poverty; fighting illiteracy; improving healthcare; women empowerment and enhancing food and water security in the country.

Mrs Ngilu said that joblessness among the youth was a major cause of insecurity, which the leadership must address immediately. She added that the country would continue to spend more on security if jobs are not created.

"We cannot continue condemning the youth for insecurity and yet we as the leadership have not invested in job creation. We are buying guns to protect whom from whom?” the minister posed.

Ms Ngilu said that her government would enhance the Women Enterprise Fund and build capacity for women to allow them take up large government contracts.

She said there was need to also enhance the capacity of the informal jua kali sector and ensure that the artisans have a larger market in Kenya.

“We are spending a lot of money on imports of things that are available locally. I once asked why we should not buy hospital beds from the artisans at Gikomba and was told that the people who operate there do not know how to deal with procurement. My question is why can’t we then teach them about procurement,” Ms Ngilu said.

Wrong policies

She added that the government was importing furniture from Asia for its offices and yet there were many carpenters in the country who are capable.

“Kenya has had the wrong policies for wealth creation. We seem to consume more from imports than we produce for our own consumption and export.

"Why do we import rice, sugar, maize and wheat and yet we have farmers? Why should we import mitumba (second hand clothes) and yet we have a textile industry?” Ms Ngilu posed.

Ms Ngilu said that she failed to support President Kibaki in 2007 because his Narc government had failed to keep its promise to Kenyans. She said that even after supporting Mr Odinga in 2007, ODM had also failed to push through the agenda set in its manifesto in the coalition government.

This will be the Kitui Central MP’s second stab at the presidency. In 1997, she and the late Wangari Maathai made history by becoming the first female presidential candidates in Kenya.

This time round, she will be the second female aspirant after Gichugu MP Martha Karua of Narc Kenya.

On Tuesday, a group of Kamba elders endorsed Mrs Ngilu’s bid and promised to support her. Just last month, the same Kamba Council of Elders endorsed Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka for the same seat at a rally in Kitui.

Mrs Ngilu is a strong critic of Mr Musyoka and has recently declared that she would rather support Mr Odinga than the VP. Mr Musyoka, she argues, “lacks credentials that would see Kenyans trust him with the highest seat in the land”.

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