Why Raila won’t receive running mate interview scores today

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Azimio la Umoja flag bearer Raila Odinga addresses journalists in Nairobi on May 10, 2022. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

The selection panel tasked with assisting Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga choose a running-mate say they won’t submit the interviews report to him today (Wednesday, May 11).

The panel, led by former Forestry minister Noah Wekesa, said on Wednesday that Odinga’s political engagements in Tana River County have made him unavailable to receive the report as earlier scheduled.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Wekesa said the report, which contains the nominees’ individual scores, will be presented to Odinga on Thursday, May 12.

The ODM boss is expected to settle on one candidate out of the three that the committee would propose.

“We had intended to send our report today (Wednesday), but we did not know that our Party leader (Raila Odinga) would be out of town… He has assured us that he will be here tomorrow (Thursday, May 12),” Wekesa said.

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Odinga has lined up a series of rallies in Tana River County, where he is expected to popularise his presidential bid.

His presidential campaigns communications director Dennis Onsarigo exuded confidence that the former prime minister would “easily pick the most qualified candidate” ahead of the May 16 deadline set by the electoral board IEBC.

Earlier, Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Executive Director Raphael Tuju said the final decision on who Odinga pairs up with in the presidential race solely lies on the ex-premier.

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“The council will interview and recommend names, but Raila, as a presidential candidate, will have a say. He can as well reject the names proposed by the council,” he said during an interview on NTV on Monday, May 9.

Ten participants took part in the running-mate interviews, with each expressing confidence that he or she was best-suited to deputise Odinga.

The ten are Narc-Kenya Party leader Martha Karua, Wiper Party boss Kalonzo Musyoka, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, her Mombasa counterpart Ali Hassan Joho, Nakuru’s Lee Kinyanjui, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege, Former Gatanga Member of Parliament Peter Kenneth, outgoing Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and former Emgwen MP Stephen Tarus.

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The interviews were conducted at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel between Monday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 10. A seven-member panel interview facilitated the exercise.

After the interviews, Sabina Chege and Peter Munya said they were asked on their political profile, why they think they’re best-suited to deputise Raila Odinga, and what vote numbers they’re bringing to the equation.

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