The Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition has retraced its steps in the search for a candidate to deputize its flagbearer Raila Odinga in the August polls.
The seven-member panel advising Odinga in choosing a suitable running mate is now asking affiliate parties to propose candidates, and not show up for interviews as earlier directed.
“Constituent party members of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance that wishes to nominate any person for consideration as a candidate for the position of Deputy President to submit the name by April 5,” a Wednesday statement by the panel’s chair Dr. Noah Wekesa read.Candidates being considered for the deputy president’s post under an Odinga presidency had been directed to appear before the panel from Wednesday, May 4 through Tuesday, May 10.
The panel’s secretary, Elizabeth Meyo, on Sunday, May 1, noted that the selection and vetting process shall be finalized by May 10, after which Odinga will unveil the successful candidate to the public.
Those scheduled to be interviewed include NARC Kenya Party leader Martha Karua, Narc Party leader Charity Ngilu, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos).
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka had said that he will not attend the running mate vetting process, dismissing it as “demeaning” because he should be an obvious pick to the position.
“I want to tell all Kenyans that I will not attend the said process. I find the entire thing demeaning to my person and will therefore distance myself from it,” he was on Wednesday quoted by the Standard as saying.
Kalonzo’s comments drew a lot of discussion from politicians, with Azimio’s rivals in the Kenya Kwanza alliance condemning the coalition’s interviews as humiliation to Kalonzo.
DP Ruto, in a tweet on Wednesday morning, said Kalonzo “deserves some dignity and respect”, backing the Wiper boss’s earlier sentiments that he will not present himself for vetting.
“Though we are competitors, to subject HE Kalonzo to some humiliating ‘interview’ is impunity. We must unite to eliminate the culture of political deceit, the hallmark of some politicians,” wrote Dr. Ruto.
“Whatever the circumstances every leader deserves some dignity and respect. Heshima si utumwa,” he added.
Presidential aspirants have until May 16 to submit their running mates to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).