After keeping Kenyans guessing for several months, NARC-Kenya leader Martha Karua officially joined the Azimio la Umoja coalition, putting her weight behind the candidacy of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
In a press conference at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi, accompanied by Odinga, Karua declared her support and said she’s there to confirm her party will be supporting the Azimio movement and Odinga for the presidency.
“I have been in the trenches with the Azimio presidential flagbearer, comrade, Raila Amolo Odinga,” Karua said.
Karua, known as the iron lady, appeared to avoid demonizing the other side. She said there are people with questionable backgrounds in both Azimio and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza coalitions, but she preferred Azimio.
“All sides have people who have looted in the past. All sides have people who do not believe in the rule of law, and all sides have good people,” Karua said. “I’ve been looking keenly, and I have been able, without much struggle, to identify a critical mass of good people in the Azimio side.”
Karua’s move denies Ruto an opportunity to snatch a top-tier political leader from the Mt. Kenya region.
By joining Azimio, Karua complicates Odinga’s choices for a running mate. The Azimio coalition has brought together an array of top-tier politicians from all over the country.
She joins President Uhuru Kenyatta as Odinga’s top boosters in Mt. Kenya.
Kitui Governor and one-time presidential candidate Charity Ngilu welcomed Karua into the Azimio fraternity.
“My dear sister @MarthaKarua Welcome to Azimio la Umoja. ~ Welcome to a side that has people who have struggled with you in the liberation of this nation. ~ Welcome to a side where corruption will be fought head-on. ~ Welcome to @RailaOdinga’s team. ~ Welcome to the winning side,” Ngilu said in a tweet.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION
Her declaration has received mixed reactions on social media.
Media personality Jerotich Seii expressed disappointment at Karua’s move.
“Observing “progressives” surrender to the grip of Kenyatta Inc. Who’s next? As my friend, comrade & lawyer, I can only wish SC @MarthaKarua
Political strategist Mutahi Ngunyi had a pointed statement for the Ruto team.
“Martha Karua as DP cannot COMPARE with a Political CARTOON known as Ndindi Nyoro, Ruto’s Deputy. With Martha in Azimio, we can now DECLARE as the late Kijana Wamalwa did: ‘…Gari Tosha,'” Ngunyi said in a tweet.
“Raila amekaribishwa Kirinyaga na Martha mwenyewe,” one user. in Kiambu County Politics WhatsApp group, said.
Karua’s moves have people wondering if it’s a checkmate for Ruto in the Mt. Kenya region. Kenyans will find out on August 9, 2022.