Raila Odinga‘s running mate for the Kenyan Presidential elections slated for August Martha Karua has vowed to bring an end to corruption if the duo emerge victorious at the polls.
“Strong leadership in women is seen as an exception and not the norm because I haven’t heard of an ‘iron man’,” the 64-year-old former justice minister told reporters in an interview.
On August 9, Deputy President William Ruto and rookie lawmaker Rigathi Gachagua will compete against Karua and seasoned opposition figure Odinga, who leads the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance alliance.
The election is viewed as a crucial test of stability for the largest economy in East Africa. In disagreements over suspected rigging, two of its last three elections were marked by violence.
Odinga has surpassed Ruto in surveys since choosing Karua to be his running mate. According to a June 13 poll by Radio Africa, Odinga was in the lead with 44.6 percent of the vote versus 38.9 percent for Ruto.
Ruto pledged to help Kenya’s poorest, those he refers to as “hustlers”, by focusing heavily on economic inequality throughout his campaign.
Karua, who, if elected, would become Kenya‘s first female deputy president, declared that Azimio’s top goal while in office will be to fight corruption, which is thought to cost the government an average of 800 billion shillings ($6.83 billion) annually.
She claimed that the money lost annually would be sufficient to finance the coalition’s promise to provide 2 million of Kenya’s poorest residents with direct monthly assistance.
“Corruption is strangling or choking the nation,” she said at her NARC-Kenya party office.
Odinga, a 77-year-old ex-political prisoner, competed in his previous four elections as an anti-establishment rival, but now he has allied with outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose ruling Jubilee Party is also a part of his alliance.
Kenyatta chose to support Odinga against his deputy Ruto, with whom he had a falling out, rather than step down after serving the maximum of two five-year terms.
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