Being presidential running mate is humbling – Miriam Mutua

In a crowded field of six presidential running mates, there is one woman who has mastered the courage to stand tall.

Ms Miriam Mutua, an entrepreneur and holder of degree in Business Administration and Management from Daystar University, is the running mate of Prof Michael Wainaina, who is vying for the presidency as an independent candidate.

Born in the early 1970s in Ndalani Village, Yatta in Machakos County, Miriam went to Central Primary School in Eldoret and AIC Kessup Girls in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County before proceeding to Daystar University.

Miriam says she had never thought of joining politics in her childhood, and that it is a humbling experience to be the running mate of a presidential candidate.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Buoyed by her leadership skills that she has acquired in her profession as an entrepreneur, Ms Mutua says their combination provides the best leadership that the country has been yearning for for years.

“We are all in politics in one way or the other either actively or passively. Politics affects our daily lives and that is not in doubt and therefore nobody can avoid it,” Ms Mutua said in an interview with Nation Wednesday.

An early morning call from a friend in April was the starting point of Ms Mutua joining politics.

“I received a call from a friend whom I have been working with in an NGO. She told me that Professor Wainaina was looking for a running mate and I fitted the bill,” she explained.

INTERVIEWED

Ms Mutua explained that she was interviewed alongside 25 other women for the running mate’s position before receiving a call later in May from Prof Wainaina that she had emerged the best.

“It is a humbling position that is purely meant to serve the people and not to be popular through the media. It is about service to the country and not [for] self-gratification,” she said.

An assertive, humble but very firm Ms Mutua urged women not to shy away from venturing into politics saying they have what it takes to provide better leadership than their male counterparts.

“The position is demanding as sometimes we have meetings till late at night and in the day we have to sit in strategy meetings and also campaign,” Ms Mutua said.

ROLE MODEL

The only woman in a family of ten says no matter the outcome of the August polls, she is already a leader and the society is looking at her for advice and as a role model.

“We all know that elections can go either way, there can only be one president and one deputy at a time but despite the outcome I am already a leader,” Ms Mutua said.

However, should the duo make it to State House, Ms Mutua said top on their agenda will be to unite the country, fight corruption, and empower the youth and women.

“Women and youth are really in my heart because they have been neglected in this country for a long time,” Ms Mutua said.

She encouraged women to actively venture into politics without fear as they can grow to greater heights in any leadership position.

“I am happy with the direction this country is taking as far as issues of women affairs are concerned especially with the introduction of the woman rep seat.

“There are also women candidates who are vying for governorship positions and that is impressive,” she said.

WANGARI MAATHAI

Inspired by the late Prof Wangari Maathai, Ms Mutua pointed out that politics should not be a preserve of men as women too have admirable leadership qualities as demonstrated by the late environmentalist.

On why she gave the running mates debate a wide berth, Ms Mutua accused the steering committee of discriminating the fringe candidates through organising a two-tier debate instead of just putting them on one platform at prime time.

TV DEBATE

“We did not snub the debate as some would want to allege but all we asked for was an equal platform for all of us.” Ms Mutua said.

“Who is watching TV at 5.30pm? At that time people are still at work and others stuck in traffic jams. So were we going to speak to ourselves or to the people of Kenya?” asked Ms Mutua.

The mother of two, a boy and a girl, said they have been campaigning especially in slums but have been ignored by the media.

“We have been campaigning especially in Korogocho, Mathare, Kibera, Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Kawangware but no media has been covering us,” Ms Mutua said.

“Campaign is not about shouting and making noise in a public place as people have been made to believe. We have been reaching out to people that actually need change and those are majorly people in the slums,” Ms Mutua added.

During her free time, Ms Mutua likes remaining indoors to spend time with her two children.

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