The Kenya Forum | Martha Karua The 'Iron Lady' - A Personal Recollection - The Kenya Forum

June 10, 2022


This choice, being the first one in the history of Kenya to go to a woman, will definitely enhance the winning stake at the General Elections

More by Rieko Mwenyewe

Martha Karua The ‘Iron Lady’ – A Personal Recollection

Martha Karua The ‘Iron Lady’ – A Personal Recollection

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When I got dissatisfied with ODM Party due to poor and uncoordinated nominations and party representation method of elections even at the grassroots level, way back in 2012, I decided to join NARC Kenya of Martha Wangare Karua who was the Party Leader. At that time there were only a handful of Members of NARC Kenya in Nyanza.

Martha Karua – ‘The Iron Lady’

I first met Hon. Martha Karua in 1990 when she together with Hon. Paul Mugane Muite, Hon. James Orengo, Hon. Itobu Imanyara, retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, famous advocate Maxwell M. Ombogo and many others, were fighting the Government of H.E. Daniel Arap Moi in order to remove Chapter 2(a) of the constitution which prevented multi-party democracy in Kenya.

Multi-Party Elections

In 1992 the fight was won and paved the way for multi-party elections. Martha Karua campaigned in Kirinyaga Constituency then called Gichugu, where she held the position of Member of Parliament and the youngest lady elected as such for a record 15 Years.

Martha Karua was first appointed Minister of Water Development before becoming Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in the Government of Mwai Kibaki. She later resigned but remained as the Member of Parliament. Prior to that she was appointed as a Magistrate at an early age of 24 Years.

One of the memorable days in the life of Martha Karua, who is also an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, is when she walked out on President Daniel Arap Moi at an official Meeting attended by the President before resigning and later joining NARC Kenya Party in 2002.

2007 and 2013 Elections

At the General Election of 2007, Martha was elected again for Gichugu Constituency and when Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga disputed the outcome of the General Elections and called for Mass Action, the Republic of Kenya was nearly boiling. The United Nations Security Council came to the rescue of Kenya. Martha Karua, Uhuru Kenyatta, Amos Wako, Paul Muite and Kalonzo Mushioka were on the side of President Mwai Kibaki with Martha as the lead negotiator.

Come the General Elections of 2013, Martha campaigned as the President on the NARC Kenya ticket along with Raila Odinga, NASA, Uhuru Kenyatta, TNA, Peter Kenneth, KNP and others. It is this time when I met Martha Karua in person. I was the lead campaigner of NARC Kenya in Kisumu County. I worked with Martha Karua when I set my eyes on the Gubernatorial position for Kisumu County.

Though Martha Karua had promised to sponsor me, she herself run into problems when Martha herself was short-changed by a European Sponsor from Sweden who gave her a condition not to join any other Party until the General Elections and that Uhuru Kenyattaa was not to appear on the ballot Paper as a Presidential Candidate since he had been indicted at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for being one of the principal participants of the post-election violence as a result of bungled Election of 2007.

Uhuru Kenyatta made his way to the ballot box to the chagrin of International Community. Although I did not campaign for lack of support, I garnered sizable votes.

Martha Karua Runs for Governor

Martha Wangari Karua continued with her NARC Kenya Party until 2017 General Elections when she entered the Gubernatorial position in Kirinyaga County and lost to Anne Waiguru. Even after going through to East African Court of Appeal, she did not get back the position but she was rewarded with some money.

Raila’s Running Mate

Martha Wangare Karua being the Iron Lady she is, juggled with different parties including being drafted to a Mount Kenya grouping and appointed the spokesperson. Martha Karua showed an interest in being considered as a running mate. She, therefore, ended up joining Asimiyo ya Umoja Convention.

With her exclusive experience and taking into account the interest of the Mount Kenya fraternity and the fact that Mount Kenya does not have a serious contender for the presidency, the Asimiyo ya Umoja Coalition drafted a special committee to vet a number of people to be considered as running mate to the holder of President Position for Asimiyo Ya Umoja Oka Coalition. These candidates included, Marthar Karua, Selina Chege, Kalonzo Musyoka, Whycliff Oparanya, Peter Munya, Peter Kenneth and others.

After detailed scrutiny, The Iron Lady, Martha Wangari Karua, was chosen by H.E. Raila Amolo Odinga for the position of the running mate and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The Martha Karua Factor – Election 2022

This choice, being the first one in the history of Kenya to go to a woman, will definitely enhance the winning stake at the General Elections of 9th August 2022 for the Asimiyo ya Umoja Convention because apart from being a staunch Mount Kenya spokesperson, Karua is the first woman to hold such an important position in Kenyan history.

Judging from the reaction from all over the country, more so in Kirinyaga, Nairobi, Kisii, Narok, Meru, Kisumu, Imenti, Embu, Kakamega, Machakos, Mombasa, Bungoma, the women of Kenya have shown their support and it is evident that Hon. Martha Wangare Karua will garner more votes for H.E. Raila Amolo Odinga and the Mt. Kenya Group.

The region has habitually stood in the way of Raila Amolo’s Presidential aspirations. However, in the current climate of collaboration and the famous handshake, and with the ingenious choice of a strong, female candidate supported by Mt. Kenya, it appears Asimiyo Ya Umoja OKA Coalition Party with garner enough votes to win the 9th August 2022 General Elections and make Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga the President of Kenya and in process, produce the first female Deputy President in the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Martha Wangare Karua, aka, the ‘Iron Lady’.


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