Raila Odinga's picks Martha Karua as running mate: Full speech

Raila Odinga

Azimio Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga delivering his speech at KICC in Nairobi on May 16, 2022.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has named Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate. 

Speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Mr Odinga praised Ms Karua for her zeal and human rights record.

"I needed a true Joshua on my corner, one who will not be a turn coat. After  along search and reflection, together with consultation, I have arrived at the decision that the holder of this position must be a woman," Mr Odinga said.

Here is Mr Odinga's full speech:

My Fellow Countrymen,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. On August 9th, this year, the country will hold its seventh multiparty election as an independent republic. The number seven is important for Kenya because it signifies completion.
  1. Even in the Holy Bible, God completed the creation of the world on the seventh day. And on this seventh multiparty election, we are called by destiny to create a new earth. We are called to create a new Kenya.
  1. Today, I am happy to be part of this destiny. I have answered the summons of the time and I am happy to be the ticket holder for the Azimio La Umoja team. With this team, I am confident that we will win the seventh multiparty election and create a new earth in Kenya.
  1. In the quest for this new Kenya, I have worked out a program that I believe will make our dreams come true.
  1.  First, I have created 12 formations to drive the Azimio campaign. The leadership of these teams will be announced on Wednesday.
  1. These teams include:
    1. National Azimio Women.
    2. National Azimio Youth.
    3. Nyanza and Western campaign team.
    4. The Rift Valley Team.
    5. The Central Kenya Team
    6. The Coast Team
    7. Team Nairobi
    8. Team Ukambani
    9. Nakuru, Laikipia and Nyandarua Unit.
    10. Team Mt Kenya East
    11. North Eastern Team
    12. Samburu, Marsabit and Isiolo Azimio Unit.
  1.  I have also nominated a core team that will help me form the Azimio government. I nominate Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Hon. Kenneth Marende as the Speaker of the Senate.
  2. I further nominate Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya as Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury; Hon Peter Munya as Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Chairman of the Kenya Productive Sector; and Hon Ali Hassan Joho as Cabinet Secretary for Lands.
  3. The public servants I have nominated above need no introduction. Their commitment to Kenya, to change, efficiency and their energy speaks for itself.
  4. But to achieve my aspirations as President, on behalf of the millions of our people, the constitution requires me to have a helper. For Moses to lead the Israelites to Canaan, he needed Joshua.
  5. When Moses could not go to battle, Joshua covered up for him. When the arms of Moses got tired in combat, Joshua swiftly moved into action to cover the gaps. For Moses to accomplish his mission, he needed a true and faithful Joshua by his side.
  6. And for me to be a successful flag bearer for Azimio La Umoja, I need an effective Joshua by my side. One who will not become a turncoat in the middle of battle or abandon post for other exploits. I need a team player with fidelity to ‘Project Kenya’.
  1. After a long search accompanied by much reflection, and consultation, we have finally arrived at a person fit to occupy the office of Joshua in our Republic.
  2. But before I mention this person, I want to draw a distinction between the Office of the Deputy President, and the Person of the Deputy President.
  3. According to our constitution, the Office of the Deputy President is meant to be the President’s workshop. It is meant to be the principal assistant’s office, meaning that all the heavy lifting is expected to occur here.
  4. Like Joshua in the Bible, the principal assistant is meant to be a problem solver to the president; and not a problem to the president. This office is meant to lighten the burden of the president and to ease the yoke he carries. It is meant to be a workshop where ideas are tested and innovations incubated. It is also the president’s last line of defence administratively.
  5. If the office of the Deputy President is a workshop, the person who holds this office must bear certain characteristics. This person cannot be a competitor to the President; they have to complement the President. The person has to be a co-worker and co-creator with the President.
  6. And following intense consultations, we have decided that the holder of this office has to be a woman. After 60 years of independence, we cannot excuse the male domination of the executive. For the first time in the history of our republic and on the seventh multi-party election, history is calling us to close the gender gap in our country. History is calling on us to reciprocate the struggles and fidelity of our women. History is calling on us to produce our first woman Deputy President.
  7. At the age of 24, this woman was appointed a magistrate to adjudicate on matters of men. A few years later, she became the youngest woman to be elected a Member of Parliament in Central Kenya. And she went on to serve in that capacity for 20 years. Of these 20 years, she was cabinet minister for 6 years, serving in different portfolios.
  8. The woman we offer as the proposed Deputy President is also known to have incredible credentials in the fight for our second liberation. In 1990, for instance, I was arrested and placed in detention without trial. At that time very few lawyers were prepared to represent me.  But this woman, then a young lawyer, led a team of 27 lawyers to defend my illegal detention.
  1. When I moved a motion in parliament to set up a select committee on constitution reform and I was deserted by my colleagues in opposition, only she and the late George Moseti Anyona stood by me.
  2.  This woman is a fighter and is not a quitter. This woman has a safe pair of hands, seasoned by the struggle for our second liberation and service to country in many capacities. This woman has a beautiful soul as exhibited by her love and compassion for her children and grandchildren. This woman will be a great co-creator and will make a remarkable first Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya.

  1. As my co-worker, I want her to finalise the unfinished business of making our constitution. And I want this done because, when the late President Kibaki and I pushed for the 2010 constitution, we admitted that it was a work in progress and it needed some further work.
  1. Because I am a man of my word, I will task her with the assignment of completing what we started. And I am persuaded that she has the right pair of hands to accomplish this task.
  2. My dear Kenyans, Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Lady.
  3. I have the great honour to announce that I have picked as my Deputy President and Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Hon. Martha Wangari Karua.

God bless you all. And God Bless Kenya.