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Wrangles In Raila's Camp As Mt Kenya Leaders Are Divided Over His 2022 Running Mate

Within Raila Odinga's ODM party in Mt Kenya, fierce infighting has erupted over his potential running mate for the 2022 presidential election.

In the vote-rich region, four camps have formed, each promoting its preferred candidate for Raila's presidential ticket's Number Two spot.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyajui, his Laikipia counterpart Ndiritu Muriithi, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth are among the front-runners for the role.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Narc Kenya chief Martha Karua are also named, albeit in passing.

The Mt Kenya region, which includes Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang'a, Nyandarua, Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Laikipia, and Nakuru counties, is a major battleground for leading presidential candidates in next year's election, with Raila, Deputy President William Ruto, and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi pitching tent there.

Raila in particular has increased his ventures into the region as his political fortunes have improved, thanks in part to President Uhuru Kenyatta's presumed backing for his candidacy.

Though competition among the four has been "tough over the past one month," Kenneth stands head and shoulders above the rest, according to nominated MP Maina Kamanda, a fervent Raila supporter.

"First, the people of Murang'a have suffered greatly for our country, from the Mau Mau days until Kenneth Matiba's time.

Second, Murang'a is the only county in Central Kenya that has actively and publicly participated in Baba's (Raila) campaigns," Kamanda told People Daily, revealing the brutality of the struggle for the position.

According to sources, Ndiritu, Kinyanjui, and Kenneth have emerged as frontrunners after hosting Raila several times in the region, while Kagwe, who is rumored to be planning on launching a presidential bid to boost his fortunes, and Karua have been ambivalent about their support for the ODM leader.

Munya, on the other hand, is thought to be torn between running for his former Meru governorship, which is currently held by Kiraitu Murungi, and preparing for a national role.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Mwai Kibaki, and Uhuru Kenyatta are the three presidents who have come from the Mount Kenya region.

Because there is no established politician in the region to succeed Uhuru, presidential contenders have been offering the position of running mate in exchange for their support.

Ngunjiri Wambugu, a Nyeri Town MP, believes that whoever is chosen as the next government's deputy president has a good chance of succeeding Uhuru as the region's kingpin.

As a result, Wambugu expects competition for the running mate's spot.

"Whether it's in the DP's camp or Raila's, there's a general consensus that a running mate should come from the region."

As a result, you'll see a lot of people vying for the position, including fighting.

But whoever obtains the job will almost certainly be acceptable in the region and will need to be trusted by the people and the President,” the MP said.

Kenneth is claimed to have the support of Uhuru's confidantes, including Jubilee vice chair David Murathe and Kamanda, as well as the prominent Mt Kenya Foundation.

Despite its key role in the country's history, the Murathe-Kamanda bloc argues that a running mate must come from Murang'a County, which has produced neither a president nor a vice president.

Kenneth has accompanied Raila to nearly all of her rallies across the country.

Kenneth told People Daily yesterday, "We haven't reached the level yet, but how am I to reject down such an offer if the boss decides to pick me?" But for the time being, we're focusing on rallying support for Raila."

Kagwe, who has received widespread media attention in recent months for his behind-the-scenes move to begin his presidential campaign under the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), has eschewed political debate.

Munya has received support from a group of Meru community leaders who believe he should be chosen as Raila's running mate, with supporters claiming that Mt Kenya East has always stood by Central Kenya and it is time for the latter to do the same.

The CS recently claimed to be the Mt Kenya spokesperson, claiming to be the chair of the region's Cabinet Secretaries.

After Raila negotiated a truce between him and his political foe Murungi, speculation about him running for a national position became rampant.

Governor Muriithi of Laikipia, Kibaki's nephew, has been working overtime to promote Raila, accompanying him on several visits of the region, the most recent of which was a visit to Gatanga, where the ODM leader met local musicians.

He welcomed Raila in Nanyuki for three days a week ago, demonstrating how his administration is dealing with economic challenges through small and medium firms and stimulus programs.

Later, he and Raila went on a road show, where they spoke at eight stop-over meetings.

He accompanied him to the Safari Park hotel the next day for a meeting with wealthy Mt Kenya businessmen, and subsequently hosted him for a rally in Nyahururu Town.

He is a member of the Party of National Unity (PNU), which has formed a coalition with Raila Odinga's ODM.

The Devolution Empowerment Party, which is linked to Governor Murungi, declared on Tuesday that Muriithi had been chosen as Raila's running mate.

Who do you think Raila Odinga should pick as his 2022 running mate?

Let us hear your reaction in the comments section below.

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Lee Kinyajui Martha Karua Mt Kenya Peter Kenneth Raila


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