Raila should not pick running mate from Mt Kenya – Kagwanja

Written by on 7 April 2022

The debate on who is the best candidate to deputize ODM party leader Raila Odinga in the August 9 presidential election has continued to rattle leaders within the Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition party.

In the past few months, many people have been of the view that the former Prime Minister should pick a running mate from Mt Kenya region to woo the vote-rich region.

Several politicians from the region including Narc Kenya party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and Agriculture CS Peter Munya have been fronted as Raila’s possible running mates.

But Murang’a senatorial aspirant Prof Peter Kagwanja, who is a member of Jubilee, reads from a different script noting that Mt Kenya’s running mate candidacy could be a liability to Raila’s race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kagwanja noted that those leaders from the Mt Kenya region seeking the deputy position in the Azimio camp lack national appeal and grassroots support and hence can not deliver votes to Raila in the August election.

The governance expert said that though Mt Kenya has a lot of votes, it has weak candidates who can deliver victory to Azimio. According to him, the campaigning for Raila to get a running mate from the region is being overzealous.

“We have the numbers but we must insist on a strategy that will make us win not using the demographic aspect to claim the position. We should never worry because our interests are being taken care of by the President who is the patron and financier of Azimio,” Kagwanja said as reported by The Standard.

His statement comes at a time when the running mate position within the Azimio camp has become a matter of contestation among the affiliate parties. This is after Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka publicly declared his interest to be Raila’s defacto deputy should they win the elections.

The former vice president notes that he could pull resources and numbers to secure Raila’s victory while some leaders in Jubilee Party insist that the ODM boss should pick a running mate from Mt Kenya.

The Jubilee leaders led by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu say argue that Kalonzo’s candidacy is not viable enough to deliver victory to the Azimio side. Wambugu said that Raila has been getting 44 per cent of votes in the last elections when he was deputized by the Wiper leader and therefore he must change his tact to get the 50 plus one per cent in the coming poll.

Ngujiri said that Raila must cater for Kalonzo’s political interest and at the same time pick a running mate from Mt Kenya if he wants to win the presidency.

“The running mate position must go to the region that is a swing vote to attract the electorate to vote for Raila. It is of essence to note that this region has never voted for Raila and this means that they need to be given a reason to do so,” Wambugu told the Standard adding: “Kalonzo has been the running mate for Raila twice and they did not get to where they were going. It is difficult to imagine that if he becomes the running mate again they will get to where they are going.”

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