Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua and embattled Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni on Monday stated that they are in Azimio to stay, dismissing claims they are on their way out of the opposition coalition.
The two spoke as they officially launched the Kamwene Leadership Forum which they have fronted to promote the interests of the Mt. Kenya region.
The new political formation has been cited by some observers as the beginning of the former minister’s departure from Azimio.
She ran as Raila Odinga’s running mate in the 2022 polls.
From left to right: Jubilee SG Jeremiah (left), former Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, NARC-Kenya party leader Martha Karua and Party of National Unity leader Peter Munya meet for a forum on August 3, 2023.
“Right now, we are not talking about the race but about the unity of Mt Kenya people. Kalonzo Musyoka is our brother. We are in Azimio to stay but we still have Kamwene Caucus to champion Mt Kenya issues,” Karua noted in a statement on Monday.
Karua has been vocal against Ruto, criticising his policies since he took office last year, and claiming that he stole their presidential win.
Karua has also attacked the president for raiding opposition parties to deny them a majority in Parliament, guaranteeing Kenya Kwanza a legislative through pass.
During the press briefing, Karua also noted that it was within Raila’s discretion to endorse any leader he wishes after she was asked about a recent endorsement where Raila was quoted endorsing Kalonzo’s 2027 presidential bid which the veteran opposition leader has since denied.
“He wrote a statement of clarification, but even if he had endorsed [him], it would be within his right. An endorsement does not in any way curtail the chances of any other person who may wish to enter the race,” Karua stated.
There have been reports of a rift between the Karua and Raila factions in the Azimio coalition, with claims that the former Gichugu MP is not happy with the ongoing bipartisan talks.
Initially, Kioni was not part of the team, with Central Kenya leaders allied to the coalition noting that they had been left out.
He was later added to head the technical team supporting the Azimio team led by Kalonzo Musyoka.
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Martha Karua during a joint media address on July 4, 2023.