TAMANDA: What next for Martha Karua after ‘pro-Uhuru’ dictum flopped?


Karua Waiguru

In November last year, Narc Kenya leader, Martha Karua, expressed interest in running for the Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat, barely three months after former Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Anne Waiguru, made a similar pronouncement.

While many were perplexed by Karua’s turnabout, as she had been expected to make another stab at the presidency, it is her announcement that she would support President Uhuru Kenyatta that left tongues wagging.

While some were baffled by her shift from CORD leader Raila Odinga’s camp to Uhuru Kenyatta’s, most saw right through it – linking the pronouncement to a calculated political maneuver to grant her favour in the incontestably Jubilee county – Kirinyaga.

But just as political stratagems shift, political euphoria dies off eventually, and when that happens, it is always time to chuck another wild card, if you have any.

Karua’s proclamation that she would support President Kenyatta’s re-election was always going to be a hard sale, even at her Gichugu backyard.

This is because even they had seen how supportive Karua was of Raila Odinga over the past four years and was at the forefront in using any slight opportunity to hammer Uhuru’s government.

What cannot be ignored are Karua’s incessant calls for the continuation of cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and later her open criticism of ICC after charges against Uhuru and Ruto were dropped.

“Raila is right. When Government interferes with an international process, then as a nation we are doomed,” said Karua at her Narc Kenya national delegates’ convention in April 2016.

She further castigated President Kenyatta and DP Ruto for supposedly using state resources to fight the ICC cases.

“The two leaders (President Uhuru and DP Ruto) are busy moving round the country celebrating the recent dismissal of their cases by the ICC yet victims of the post election violence are in the cold,” Karua said.

Two months later, while speaking in Kimunye village in Kirinyaga County, Karua stated that she was in the Opposition to stay noting that she was not ready to join Jubilee.

This she said in response to a call by Gichugu MP, Njogu Barua, that she folds her Narc Kenya party and join President Uhuru Kenyatta in “building the country”.

She went further to support CORD’s decision to hold protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) adding that it was within the constitutional framework.

So tight was Karua’s collaboration with Raila that there were talks of the formation of a new coalition (bringing in Karua’s Narc Kenya) to face Uhuru in August 8 polls with the possibility of the former Gichugu MP being picked as either the presidential candidate or the running mate to Raila Odinga.

In fact, appearing on Citizen TV days after announcing her interest in Kirinyaga’s top seat, Karua remained non-committal on whom she would support in the presidential elections, while also calling on her supporters to back whomever they want.

Her reason was that Narc Kenya had presence in all counties in the country and it would be “undemocratic” for her to impose a particular presidential candidate on her party members.

A week later, during Deputy President William Ruto’s tour of Kirinyaga, Karua responded to heckles from the crowd with a defiant flash of her Narc Kenya party sign (two fingers), resisting calls by DP Ruto that she folds her party and join Jubilee.

And so after all the chips had fallen, reality dawned on all – that Karua’s pro-Uhuru dictum was just a façade aimed at creating ador in the hope that it would grant her a place in the heart of Jubilee. Needless to say, the ecstasy faded even before it could spread to Kirinyaga.

Having won Jubilee governorship nomination with a whopping 100,623 votes against Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari’s 46,000 and incumbent Governor Joseph Ndathi’s 17, 085, Ms Anne Waiguru is now touted as the most likely candidate to win eventual race as Jubilee luminaries Uhuru and DP Ruto urge their supporters to cast a six-piece vote that would ensure Jubilee has numbers in all Houses.

In the face of this, and as the clock ticks, one question lingers; does Karua have another political wild card to play and change the tides in Kirinyaga?

Your guess is as good as mine.

By Calvin Tamanda

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