Choosing who will be the vice presidential nominee for the best presidential nominees has proven to be a tricky business.
It is a major dilemma for the candidates and must be handled with the utmost wisdom in order not to play into the hands of the competition. Even in vibrant liberal democracies, the manifesto, the vision, and the choice of comrade-in-arms is a make-or-break affair because it envisions what the coalition ticket will stand for. For example, the election of Kamala Harris helped win the presidency for Joe Biden because it added the gender factor alongside race to cement Democrats’ authority as a party of inclusivity, equality and unity.
At first glance, the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya camp seems to have focused on emulating Ronald Regan’s style, which earned him awards as “President for Diversity and Inclusion”. Regan recognized the profound impact of diversity on the US economy. The choice of leaders who accompanied Azimio leader Raila Odinga on a foreign mission last week says it all. Martha Karua, Wycliff Oparanya, Sabina Chege, Sally Kosgey, James Ongwae and Moses Kajwang.
In the running mate arithmetic, Karua, commonly known as the “Iron Lady,” appeared to tick all the boxes bar what observers say fears about the number of votes she might mobilize from her home spot. The former Attorney General has garnered interest during Raila’s US trip as the epitome of the Azimio spirit, and the jury is debating whether she can win over women’s votes for Azimio. This is because she triangulates the three key factors that embody the Azimio spirit, namely diversity, inclusion and a firm anti-graft position.
Kenya Kwanza “leaked the trials” to Azimio that they reserved the running mate position for a man or woman from central Kenya, which ironically is also the origin Karua hails from – it’s understandable that she could if she the role of Country Chief Minister is not enough as a running mate.
I expect that empowering women will be the focus of this upcoming election. And the diaspora community will only reinforce it. Those seeking office should ignore the diaspora vote at their peril. Their influence on Kenyans at home through money transfers and as opinion leaders, with the values of equality, women’s empowerment and shared prosperity, the diaspora can create a tsunami.
Because of their experience in the free world, diaspora Kenyans are big advocates of women’s empowerment, gender equality and equal opportunities for all.
The author is a gender activist and General Secretary of Azimio One Kenya-UK