Top Kenyan Presidential Candidate Picks Female Running Mate
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday chose a former justice minister as his running mate in elections set for August, making her the first-ever female candidate on a major presidential ticket in the East African country.
Martha Karua, an attorney and seasoned politician, has a reputation for speaking her mind and could prove a popular choice among voters excited to see a woman among the country’s top leaders.
Karua, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2013, is nicknamed “the iron lady” for her reputation as a tough competitor and has railed against official corruption.
“I believe in my heart of hearts that if we can erode the power of corruption in our midst, we can finally cross the Rubicon to the promised land,” she said in a speech Monday.
Odinga’s announcement came the day after his rival, Deputy President William Ruto, picked lawmaker Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate. Both running mates are ethnic Kikuyus — underscoring the importance of that voting bloc that encompasses a wide and ballot-rich part of central Kenya.
Odinga praised Karua as an “exceptional leader with high principles,” adding that by choosing her he has demonstrated his confidence in the leadership of women.