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February 17, 2019

What are Karua’s chances?

What are Karua's chances?
What are Karua's chances?

Anyone who hasn’t failed in anything, hasn’t been trying hard enough.
Former Gichugu MP Martha Karua, a 2013 Narc Kenya presidential candidate, is running for governor in Kirinyaga.

Siaya Senator James Orengo ran for President on the Social Democratic Party ticket in 2002. Five years later, he won the Ugenya parliamentary seat on the ODM ticket.
Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth lost the presidential race on the Kenya National Congress ticket in 2013. He is in the 2017 Nairobi governor race. Senator Orengo is a distinguished contributor to the advancement of democracy. He is also a force in the fight for integrity in public office.

Kenneth had a superlative record in the management of the Constituency Development Fund in Gatanga, and could replicate that fiscal discipline in Nairobi.
Kenneth, Orengo, and Karua cannot be faulted for ‘faulty decision-making’. They are students of realpolitik in a country where voters preferred President Daniel Moi, who had supervised a monolithic dictatorship for 20 years, to Prof Wangari Maathai at the 1997 presidential election. The iconic environmentalist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. It is voters who have a challenge in making informed choices.

But political pundits have their way of interpreting Kenneth and Karua’s latest decisions. Political punditry of the scandalised National Youth Service consultant Mutahi Ngunyi type feeds on imaginative insanity.
Responding to Karua’s latest decision, Ngunyi, known for bizarre views, said, “If Karua wins the 2017 Kirinyaga governor race, she would be in a pole-position to be Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in 2022.”

Ruto and Karua used the same car during the presidential tour of Central Kenya last week. However, they have not been a team. They held different ends of the power stick during the contentious 2007 presidential election. Karua is a power-grabber: Ruto is an obsessive materialist.

The two drifted during the 2008 post-election violence, and the bungled International Criminal Court prosecutions. They shouted at each other from different ends of the field.Karua was protecting power like a hen covering its chicks against predators. Ruto was chasing ODM’s ‘stolen’ victory. It then takes imaginative courage to think of the two as number one and two in the post-Uhuru era.

In a tweet days after the US elections, Ngunyi of The Consulting House referred to the former PNU hawk as ‘Martha Trumps Karua’. He was drawing an unlikely parallel with the black swan White House win of the maverick Donald Trump.
Martha earned the ‘tough lady’ tag after she installed then PNU candidate Mwai Kibaki as President on the eve of New Year 2008. Powermen earlier associated with PNU had retreated. They resurfaced after Karua belled the cat. She expected huge career-enhancing rewards for complicity.

Kibaki was losing the 2007 presidential election to the ODM candidate, Raila Odinga.

Karua, then minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, with her Internal Security colleague, John Michuki, co-opted the security agencies to force a second-term for a coy Kibaki.

Another twitterati has defined the Kirinyaga ‘girl’ as ‘Martha Tantrumps’ Karua. US President-elect Trump threw tantrums times without number in the months leading to the presidential elections on November 8.

Karua would throw tantrums when Kibaki preferred Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor over the woman who stood by him as he fought for a second term. She run against TNA candidate Uhuru at the 2013 general election. Although she knew she stood no chance, she had a grudge against Central’s blue-eyed boy. She has since devalued her ambition in favour of Uhuru, to reclaim political relevance. The Iron Lady will have to dissolve her party and join Jubilee to secure her new corner.

Trump, the billionaire realtor, personified change that made populist sense to workers, the unemployed, and descendants of slave owners on former cotton plantations of the American South. But Karua is not Trump: She is a fair-weather politician. She was a ‘friend’ of Cord until she discovered the tastier side of her bread.

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