Azimio la Umoja Presidential aspirant Raila Odinga and running mate Martha Karua. PHOTO/COURTESY

The recent nomination of Martha Karua by Azimio Alliance flagbearer Raila Odinga as running mate has provided the catharsis that Kenyans needed during this apprehensive moment in history.

In less than three months, Kenyans will be voting for a President to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta and the country has been experiencing a huge stress.

For a while now, voters have been torn between Mr Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, both who represent different images to many people.

There are those who view Raila as a leader who is headstrong, unsatisfied by anything, dangerous and therefore not trusted to lead this country.

On the other hand, there are those who love and worship this erstwhile political genius, a fighter for freedom and human rights.

Furthermore, Ruto is viewed by many as the most corrupt, liar, manipulator, untrustworthy and ferocious character.

Love or hate him Ruto is also loved and worshipped by those who believe he is the right leader to be president.

It is therefore not surprising that the two leaders have emerged as the leading contenders for the presidency making the campaign a two-horse race.

There are also other presidential candidates, the latest being Wiper Leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka but those are political presidential toddlers.

As the election date beckons, the country has been held in tenterhooks of these two leaders and voters and regions have been oscillating between who among the two is the best option.

Underneath the veneer of political campaigns and mobilization, the nagging question has been in whose hands between Raila and Ruto are Kenyans safe.

Essentially, the election is turning out to be about probity as much as it is about the economy, security, food, health, energy and other burning issues that impact heavily on peoples’ livelihoods.

In this regard, the choice of running mates for these two leaders has been a much awaited stress reliever.

A day before the IEBC deadline, Ruto nominated, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate, while on the eve of the deadline, Raila chose, Martha Karua as his DP designate.

Just like that, the fate of the August 9 presidential election reverted to the court of public opinion.

Ruto-Rigathi ticket is quickly being described as a treacherous duality, while Raila-Martha a moderate combination.

Whatever the case, both tickets are drawing supporters in droves.

In Kenya Kwanza Alliance ticket lies a combative streak from two strong leaders with bombastic approach to politics, admirable oratory skills and gift of the garb.

In Azimio Alliance ticket, one is confronted by a streak of two indomitable leaders with scars of battles inflicted while fighting for human rights, constitutional order, democracy, rule of law and good governance.

Therefore, the two tickets represent two distinct kind of leaderships to expect in the event either of them wins the presidency.

Within the next two weeks and after the official campaign period is declared by the IEBC, Kenyans will have ample time to digest the gravity of the nominations and decide who between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio Alliances are their interests best catered for.

In my view, it appears from the reactions that followed the announcement of the nominees by Raila and Ruto, one side of political divide has big challenges to overcome.

The announcement of Rigathi Gachagua elicited little celebrations and even those happened in two regions only.

On the other hand, the announcement of Martha Karua as a deputy president designate has provoked widespread celebration throughout the country and from notable international leaders.

If these reactions are anything to go by, Raila-Martha ticket is one to closely watch as the election date approaches.

Even then, Azimio Alliance has a big task ahead as it mitigates the effects caused by the decamping of Kalonzo Musyoka from the alliance.

All said things considered, this year’s presidential election will be the most hotly contested since the 2002 election when as history is repeating itself, two Mt Kenya leaders were called upon to decide who becomes the president of Kenya.

The only difference this time round is both Karua and Rigathi are deputy president designates, while in 2002, Kibaki and Uhuru were competing for the presidency.

As fate would have it, Mt Kenya is once again being depended upon to decide whether the country chooses a bad or good Presidency.

Will the mountain make a good or bad decision? The answer shall be known sooner than expected because the signs of which side will carry the day are discernible.

Kaunda wa Muchunku

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