Ruto, Raila running mate hopefuls keep their options open

Kalonzo Musyoka, Peter Kenneth, Rigathi Gachagua

From left: Kalonzo Musyoka, Peter Kenneth, Rigathi Gachagua and Musalia Mudavadi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s possible running mates have a fallback plan should they fail to secure the position.

Of those touted for the positions in the two teams, only 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (for Mr Odinga) and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi (for Dr Ruto) have not declared interest in other elective positions.

On the DP’s side, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Kiharu’s Ndindi Nyoro have already met the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nomination deadlines to defend their seats.

Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki was a month ago prevailed upon to drop his governor ambitions in favour of incumbent Muthomi Njuki.

Governors Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege who are on Mr Odinga’s side, are also focused on retaining their seats in the August elections.

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua is yet to identify with either Dr Ruto’s or the ODM leader’s teams, even though her name has been flouted by both camps as a possible running mate.

Mr Odinga’s presidential campaign spokesperson, Prof Makau Mutua, said the camp will focus on the candidate’s integrity, ability to work with the presidential candidate in a seamless manner and the ability of the candidate to bring in votes.

Kenya Kwanza

“Basically, it is the construction of a ticket that reflects the face of Kenya,” he said. “No one is ruled in or ruled out in the choice of a running mate.”

On Monday, Ms Karua said she is focusing on the Kirinyaga gubernatorial race. She also noted that nothing blocks her from negotiating with Azimio or Kenya Kwanza.

“No one has blocked us from having negotiations with those other political formations. No legal deadline for people not to join one another. No door is closed.

“Some might have undergone signing as we witnessed recently but that is not the end of negotiations,” she told NTV.

Ms Karua said that she will have to determine who between Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga can protect public resources before she makes up her mind on which outfit to work with.

Yesterday, Mr Kenneth said it is the prerogative of the presidential candidate to nominate the running mate, adding that he is focusing of the campaigns.

“I have dedicated my time to support the Azimio candidate to win because we would like to see Kenya in safe hands. It is also my personal belief and conviction that he can build the country more than any other candidate out there,” Mr Kenneth told the Nation.

On being nominated as a running mate, he said: “It would be an honour if that was to happen. However, it’s not a position you can give conditions.

“My honest belief is that presidential candidates should be given a free hand in selecting who their running mates will be. There are a lot of things involved; chemistry, ability to work together, as well as complementing each other.

“All these things, only the candidate can decide. So the candidate should be given a free hand to choose whoever fits him so that we don’t have problems trying to suit situations and then they get messy.”

Ms Waiguru said whereas she already handed in her nomination papers to the UDA party to defend her Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat, she would graciously accept nomination as Dr Ruto’s running mate.

“A running mate is a sober decision determined by the ultimate cumulative value an individual adds to the presidential ticket. It would therefore be a great honour for me if our presidential candidate considers that I can add to his vision and purpose when we get into government,” Ms Waiguru told the Nation.

She pointed out that she was however, focusing on defending her seat based on “the work we have achieved.”

  Presidential campaign

Mr Muriithi, who is also Mr Odinga’s presidential campaign board chairman, said that he had set his sights on defending his Laikipia governor seat, adding that the Azimio candidate will make his choice for running mate at the right time.

“On the running mate slot, that has not been the consideration. I support and promote Raila’s candidature because he is by far the best option. He is experienced and committed, with a genuine desire to see a better Kenya,” said Mr Muriithi.

He said he will defend his seat on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket under Azimio la Umoja coalition.

Mr Kinyanjui is also keen on defending his Nakuru governor seat on his Ubuntu party ticket under the Mr Odinga-led Azimio.

Mr Munya did not resign from his Cabinet position to go for the Meru gubernatorial seat as earlier expected.

A member of PNU, the CS expressed optimism during the party’s National Delegates Conference that he would be selected as Mr Odinga’s running mate given his track record.

“… by the will of God and your prayers, I believe I have all it takes to represent your interests at the top level of government,” Mr Munya said.

Mr Gachagua, who does not mince his words on the position of the Mt Kenya region regarding the running mate post for Dr Ruto, said he had paid the official fee to defend the Mathira parliamentary seat on a UDA ticket.

He dared his opponents to face him in the UDA elections “as they have no chance being in any Party associated with Azimio”.

Yesterday, he warned that the country was staring at a possible “family capture should President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s Azimio alliance be given a chance to lead”.

“They want to continue leading this country for the next 200 years. We cannot allow the Jaramogi’s, Kenyatta’s and Moi’s to keep changing on the top seat. They simply want to protect their businesses and family interests at the expense of other Kenyans,” Mr Gachagua said.

President Kenyatta had challenged the DP’s camp over plans to advance the interests of only two communities that have been in power since independence.

He alluded to the Kikuyu-Kalenjin matrix in the presidency, saying it was time to give other communities time to lead.

Last month while on a campaign tour of Mt Kenya East, DP Ruto was compelled to parade Prof Kindiki, Mr Nyoro and Ms Wahome and held their hands in a show of solidarity.

On Saturday, the DP asked Kiharu residents to re-elect Mr Nyoro and allow him (the MP) to focus on Dr Ruto’s national campaigns.