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What Raila’s running mate choice means

 IN an effort to secure the vote-rich Ukambani region and its diaspora, two leaders from the region have been shortlisted to be ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s running mate. 

ODM party leader Raila Odinga and his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka on the campaign trail. Photo/FILE

Both Wiper party leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and his governor Ms Charity Kaluki Ngilu were part of the eight candidates who the Noah Wekesa-led vetting panel settled for with from a team of 20.

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya vetting panel has also shortlisted the following to be vetted for Deputy President post: Martha Karua (Narc) and Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege (Jubilee).

Also in the shortlist are former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth of Jubilee party, Baringo senator Gideon Moi, Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho, and Stephen Kipkiyeny Tarus representing National Liberal Party.

Raila Odinga's vetting panel has shortlisted both Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua (centre) and former Gatanga legislator Peter Kenneth for the coalition's running mate slot. Photo/COURTESY

Voting bloc

The choice of running mate slot will come with a number of factors to consider such as what the running mate will bring to the presidential candidate in terms of votes, the constituency they represent such as the women and other marginalized groups as well as if Raila will be seeking to appease a certain region for continued support over the years.

“What qualifies one to be a suitable running mate is the number of votes he brings to the table. I can confidently say none of the political parties running for the presidency in 2022 will form government without votes from Kalonzo and Wiper” said Makueni MP Dan Maanzo.

The IEBC set deadline to pick a running mate as May 16 meaning time is running out for both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio One Kenya coalitions. The two are regarded as front runners in this year’s presidential elections.

In terms of numbers, Raila will have to balance between picking a running mate from Mt Kenya region with a vote bloc of cumulative 5.9 million or foregoing Kalonzo’s proven loyalty and his more than 1.6 million votes that he commands as Ukambani regional supremo.

DP William Ruto “defended” Kalonzo to be the most qualified to be Raila’s deputy having served as former President Kibaki’s Vice President from 2008 to 2013 and Raila’s presidential running mate for 2013 and 2017.

But political analysts think by Ruto championing for Kalonzo’s choice in Azimio-OKA union means he is keen on having a chunk of the 5.9 million votes from President Kenyatta’s backyard.  To prove his mettle, there have been high profile defections from Jubilee to UDA all from Mt Kenya.


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