Nairobi, Kenya – Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday chose a former justice minister as her running mate in the August election, making her the first female candidate on the East African country’s main presidential ticket.
Karua, who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2013, has been dubbed the “Iron Lady” for her reputation as a tough opponent and has protested against government corruption.
In a speech on Monday, he said, “I sincerely believe that if we can eliminate the power of corruption from within us, we will finally be able to bring Rubikon back to the Promised Land.”
Odinga’s announcement came days after his rival, Deputy President William Ruto, chose lawmaker Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate. Both running partners underscore the importance of the ethnic Kikuyu – the voting bloc that covers the vast and ballot-rich part of central Kenya.
Odinga praised Carua as an “exceptional leader with high principles” and added that she had shown her confidence in women’s leadership by choosing him.
A fierce rivalry between Odinga and Ruto is emerging in a fierce battle to replace President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenyatta, who has served two terms, fell out with his deputy at the start of his second term when Kenyatta and Odinga – who lost the 2017 election – shook hands in public in what was seen as a show of solidarity after the split election.
But the so-called handshake incident in 2018 upset Ruto, who saw it as a betrayal. Ruto and Kenyatta have been at loggerheads ever since, sometimes openly attacking each other’s records. Kenyatta is actively supporting Odinga.
The vote, scheduled for August 9, could again test Kenya’s political stability in the face of controversial results.
Kenya’s elections often end in legal battles, and in 2007 a violent election sparked ethnic violence that killed more than 1,000 people.