A seven-member panel tasked with vetting candidates seeking to deputise Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Political Party presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has concluded its assignment.
The committee chaired by former Kwanza Member of Parliament Noah Wekesa said on Thursday afternoon that it had submitted three names to the presidential candidate for consideration in order of preference.
Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, Wekesa noted that the three candidates were ranked on the basis of the average marks they scored during interviews conducted on Monday and Tuesday at Serena Hotel.
The former cabinet minister and legislator, however, didn’t disclose the names of the three persons, regarded as the most suitable to deputise Odinga in the August 9 race to State House.
Top contenders for the post include party leaders Martha Karua (Narc Kenya), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and former Gatanga MP Peter Keneth.
Others vetted included Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leaders Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya (Party of National Unity), Narc leader Charity Ngilu and her National Liberal Party counterpart Stephen Tarus.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, a close confidant of Musyoka, was conspicuously missing at the Thursday presser attended by all members of the Azimio panel.
Asked about the whereabouts of the member, Wekesa said the legislator was ‘probably out there campaigning’.
Wambua’s absence has sparked speculations that the Wiper boss didn’t make it to the top as expected.
The Senator is among Wiper hardliners who have been piling pressure on Odinga to pick Musyoka as his running mate ahead of the August polls.
He recently said in a TV interview that he would only vote for Odinga if he settles on Musyoka as his running mate.
“Personally, if he does not pick Kalonzo [as running mate], probably I will not vote for him. We must begin to be honest with each other…
“I don’t want to lie to anyone that all will be rosy, it will not be the same; that is a fact. However, nobody should feel any pressure to do what is the right thing to do,” Wambua said.
Musyoka insists he is the most suitable candidate to deputise Odinga having run as the ODM party leader’s running mate twice, in 2013 and 2017.
He was against attending the interviews he termed as demeaning before changing his mind on Monday.