Karua backs Uhuru, to vie for gov­er­nor in Kirinyaga

2013 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date has been work­ing with Raila

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

Af­ter flirt­ing with the Op­po­si­tion for three years, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua yes­ter­day de­cided that be to elected Gov­er­nor in Kirinyaga, she must sup­port Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta.

Karua an­nounced she had thrown her weight be­hind Uhuru’s re­elec­tion.

‘”I will not be in the Pres­i­den­tial race. My peo­ple know where they want to cast their vote and I am telling them Yes, it is okay to vote me Gov­er­nor in Narc Kenya and sup­port the Pres­i­dent in Ju­bilee. My sup­port­ers have said that they will sup­port Uhuru Keny­atta and I am to­tally okay with that,’” Karua told re­porters in her for­mer Gichugu con­stituency.

The for­mer Jus­tice min­is­ter also said she sup­ported Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s fight against cor­rup­tion.

“Pres­i­dent Keny­atta is do­ing his best to fight cor­rup­tion and I fully sup­port his en­deav­ours. I will join hands with the Pres­i­dent to fight graft in the coun­try. Ev­ery­one should back ef­forts by the Head of State,” she added.

Other than run­ning for Pres­i­dent in 2013, Karua has been a strong critic of the gov­ern­ment un­til re­cently, when she de­clared she would run for Kirinyaga gov­er­nor.

Yes­ter­day she said, “The peo­ple in this re­gion say they will vote for Uhuru Keny­atta. They should elect him to com­plete his two terms.”

Her move, which comes only weeks af­ter Peter Ken­neth, an­other for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date did the same, is seen as strate­gi­cally aimed at draw­ing Uhuru’s sup­port­ers to her can­di­da­ture for gov­er­nor.

Karua’s move also comes only weeks af­ter the Pres­i­dent recog­nised her as a na­tional hero­ine dur­ing this year’s Mashu­jaa Day.

CHANGE OF HEART

Their change of heart comes a few months af­ter an­other for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Koigi wa Wamwere, de­clared he would also sup­port Uhuru.

Koigi, Ken­neth and Karua have been seen as Kikuyu rebels who had re­fused to fol­low Uhuru’s lead­er­ship at the 2013 elec­tions.

De­spite hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in var­i­ous op­po­si­tion-led events, Karua de­nied that she has ever had the in­ten­tion of join­ing Cord or any other out­fit.

She was part of the Okoa Kenya ref­er­en­dum ini­tia­tive and was among those push­ing for the re­moval of the IEBC com­mis­sion­ers.

“Narc Kenya has just been friends with the op­po­si­tion for the sole pur­pose of fight­ing the high lev­els of cor­rup­tion and noth­ing be­yond that, and those link­ing my­self or our party with the so-called Su­per Al­liance are just en­gag­ing in witch-hunt­ing,” she said.

The for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter also said she was not ready to join Ju­bilee, say­ing her party would field can­di­dates for all seats other than for Pres­i­dent.

She was speak­ing at the Kianyaga Catholic Hall in Gichugu con­stituency, where she was the area MP for four terms, dur­ing a Narc Kenya del­e­gates’ con­fer­ence.

Karua had met the 700 del­e­gates from her party, drawn from all the five wards, to ex­plain her plans for gov­er­nor as well as Narc Kenya’s strat­egy for 2017.

“Since our party has of­fices in most parts of the coun­try, it will field can­di­dates in all the six elec­tive po­si­tions, save for the Pres­i­den­tial one, since we will be sup­port­ing Keny­atta’s re-elec­tion bid, come the Au­gust 2017 gen­eral elec­tion,” she said.

Karua said her in­ter­est and fo­cus were to win the Kirinyaga gov­er­nor po­si­tion, where she is to face­off with for­mer De­vo­lu­tion Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Anne Waig­uru and the in­cum­bent Joseph Ndathi.

“I’m a worka­holic and ev­ery­one knows that. Even Pres­i­dent Uhuru recog­nised me dur­ing Mashu­jaa Day as a hero­ine. I will trans­form Kirinyaga into an eco­nomic hub if elected,” she said.

Karua’s dec­la­ra­tion may be the last punch at Waig­uru’s can­di­da­ture and she is in­creas­ingly been seen to be ris­ing as JP’s pre­ferred can­di­date.

Waig­uru has spent more time in the last two weeks de­fend­ing her­self against ac­cu­sa­tions re­lated to the NYS cor­rup­tion scan­dal.

This has put her at cross-hairs with sev­eral Ju­bilee leg­is­la­tors af­ter she got em­broiled in a war of words with Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto.

The op­po­si­tion has been count­ing on her to boost their im­age in Cen­tral, es­pe­cially af­ter the exit of ODM MPs from Mt Kenya re­gion.

In Au­gust, Karua had told off Ju­bilee lead­ers ask­ing them to re­spect her as­so­ci­a­tion with the op­po­si­tion.

OTHER THAN RUN­NING FOR PRES­I­DENT IN 2013, KARUA HAS BEEN A STRONG CRITIC OF THE GOV­ERN­MENT UN­TIL RE­CENTLY

/MONICAH MWANGI

Cord co­prin­ci­pals Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga with Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua dur­ing a rally in Uhuru Park on Septem­ber 23 last year

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