Kibisu Kabatesi’s diatribe against Martha Karua in “Karua’s ‘reunion’ with Raila is underlined by fake friendship” (DN, May 23) should not go unchallenged. First off, I must state that I hold no brief for Ms Karua or the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party.
I am, however, one of the many Kenyans who get concerned when Ms Karua’s record and pioneering role in the liberation of Kenyan women is watered down for purely political reasons. To allege that she is not a woman of many firsts is, in my opinion, an attempt at altering history.
Karua is the first elected woman MP from the Mount Kenya region. She was the first woman to establish a professional organisation to empower women to run for political office, when she and Ida Odinga, among others, established the League of Kenya Women Voters in the early 1990s. She was also the first Kenyan advocate and former magistrate to be elected to Parliament and among the daring women lawyers in the team that dared to defend Raila Odinga from persecution by the Moi dictatorship.
To allege that Ms Karua “stoked the embers of post-election violence” is to stretch matters a little too far. How would a Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister know how electoral commission boss Samuel Kivuitu was going to manage our country’s electoral affairs ahead of time?
And what does Mr Kabatesi mean by Ms Karua’s “notoriety and arrogant ethnic nationalism ruffled” Mr Kofi Annan, forcing him to directly reach out to President Mwai Kibaki to break the stalemate? That Kibaki chose Karua says a lot about his confidence in her. Also, the attempt at casting doubt on the constitutionality of Mr Odinga’s promise to make her the justice constitutional affairs CS is pretentious. Or where is the legal basis for a similar promise by Kenya Kwanza presidential aspirant William Ruto make his boss, Musalia Mudavadi, prime CS?
To water down Karua’s sterling service to Kenyan women is disheartening to our daughters, sisters and mothers. To paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, “Women’s human rights are never given, they must be demanded by women.”
Mr Mugo is a communication consultant. [email protected]