Raila Odinga defends choice of running mate Martha Karua

Raila Odinga and Martha Karua

Azimio Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Raila Odinga, the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party presidential hopeful, yesterday criticised Deputy President William Ruto “for demeaning my running mate Martha Karua”.

Mr Odinga, who was in Kilgoris as he began his two-day tour of Narok County, said Ms Karua is a person of repute, a champion for democracy and a fighter against corruption.

“I took the deliberate decision of nominating Karua. Now I hear some people saying she is just a woman. Those are fools,” the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chief said.

He said he acknowledges the power of women’s leadership, citing former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and current Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu.

Mr Odinga said he chose the Narc-Kenya leader because women have been marginalised from the country’s top leadership from the time Kenya gained independence almost 60 years ago.

The Azimio One Kenya brigade also held rallies in Enoosoen and Lolgorian.

Mr Odinga’s allies told the crowds not to trust Dr Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza team.

The politicians also delved into the management of revenue from the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said leaders allied to Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) cannot be entrusted with managing the resource.

“An audit on the use of revenue from Masai Mara should be done. The current leadership embezzled money generated by the reserve. They will be held to account once Raila and Karua take power,” the ODM Elections Director said.

Mr Mohammed said also called for investigations into the ownership of land belonging to former Vice President Joseph Murumbi.

He accused the Narok devolved government of plotting to renew the Mara Triangle management between the county and Mara Conservancy – a private entity – through the assembly.

ODM governor aspirant Moitalel ole Kenta said Narok is a resource-rich county but poor leadership has made devolution lose meaning.

“The potential for tourism and agriculture is great but corruption has been the ruin of Narok. We will ensure our people have a feel of their rightful development,” Mr Kenta said.

The sibling rivalry between Azimio One Kenya hopeful for Senate played out with Ubuntu People’s Forum (UPF) aspirant Meitamei Ololdapash and incumbent Ledama Olekina (ODM) clashing over failure to demand accountability on the usage of Masai Mara revenue.

“Sadly, some leaders here are saying Mara resources have been misused yet they have never summoned Governor Samuel Tunai over the issue,” Mr Ololdapash said.

This statement rubbed Mr Olekina the wrong way.

“For the record, Tunai has been summoned six times on the matter. Those saying nothing has been done are lying,” the senator said.

Mr Odinga had earlier jetted into the country from abroad.

He had been on a two-day tour of South Sudan and Uganda, returning to Kenya on Thursday evening.

The ODM leader’s office said the tour was successful as it aimed at improving relations between Kenya and her neighbours.

Apart from meeting South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Mr Odinga commissioned the 3.6-kilometre bridge over the Nile.

“It is always a pleasure meeting President Kiir. I am happy at the strides they are making regarding infrastructure and their willingness to cooperate with the rest of Africa,” he said.