Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Committee Secretary-General Junet Mohamed has defended the interviews for a suitable candidate to deputize Raila Odinga in his August presidential bid.
Mohammed, in a tweet on Tuesday, said the exercise, which kicks off on Wednesday, May 4, is aimed at ensuring that Odinga does not end up with a deputy like William Ruto whose relationship with President Kenyatta has been frosty.
“The guiding principle in identifying a running mate for the Azimio Presidential candidate is: We don’t want to have a deputy president like William Ruto,” he wrote, tagging the Azimio campaign spokesman Prof. Makau Mutua.
Odinga who is the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition presidential flag bearer has a seven-member team to advise him in choosing a suitable running mate, led by Suna East MP Junet Mohamed.
Candidates being considered for the deputy president’s post under an Odinga presidency will begin meeting the panel on Wednesday through Tuesday, May 10.
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 has since 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.
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.
Odinga’s 7-member Running Mate Selection Panel comprises Bishop Peter Njenga, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Senator Enoch Wambua, Michael Orwa, Dr. Noah Wekesa, Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, and Beatrice Askul Moe.
Presidential aspirants have until May 16 to submit their running mates to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after the commission last week moved the deadline from the initially-set April 28.