Why Martha Karua doesn’t like the nickname ‘Iron Lady’

Martha Wangari Karua

Azimio presidential running mate Martha Karua.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote I Nation Media Group

Her tenacity, no nonsense attitude and boldness to take on whatever is thrown at her has earned her many praises in Kenyan politics including the name Iron Lady, but now Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition deputy president candidate Martha Karua now says that she has never liked the name.

During an interview with CNN correspondent Larry Madowo, Karua explained that the fact that she had to be branded as the iron lady speaks to the level of patriarchy in the Kenyan society, that it had to define her as different of what a woman has been perceived to be, just because of her show of strength.

“I think that name in a way speaks to the misogyny within society, strength is not perceived as female, strength is perceived as male,” Ms Karua said.

When asked about whether Kenya is ready to have a female president she said, “that question suggests that women ought not to be on the ballot, because I have never asked anybody question whether Kenyans are ready for yet another male president. So that question in itself is discriminatory, Kenya is ready for women at all levels.”

Karua who is lawyer by profession started her political career during the late President Daniel Moi’s era.

Notable times

Her most notable times was when she stood against then-President Daniel arap Moi over his declaration to disband Law Society of Kenya (LSK), ostensibly for being vocal for multi-party democracy.

Ms Karua would later walk out of Kenneth Matiba’s Ford-Asili party over what she identified as an unethical nominations.

But June 16, 2001 was her most illustrious and tangible display of unwavering commitment to her strong moral principles.

As the only opposition MP at a Moi function in her Kirinyaga backyard, she recognised that a sitting president deserved his respect.

In 2007, she was the one-woman army against accusations that PNU had rigged elections against ODM.

When that was recently brought up by her opponents to counter her corruption accusations against them, she tweeted that she has “no apologies for being Kibaki’s agent at KICC”.

Additional reporting by Shiko Ngure