Martha Karua


September 22, 1957




Politician, Lawyer


Has two children


Education: She attended several schools in her education journey. She started off at Mugumo Primary School, moved to Kabare Girls Boarding School and then St Michael’s boarding school in Kerugoya. For her O-levels, she first joined Kiburia Girls Secondary School, then Ngiriambu Girl’s Secondary School and Karoti Girl’s Secondary Schools where she sat her East African School Certificate. She then moved to Nairobi Girls' Secondary School for her A-levels. She graduated with a law degree from the University of Nairobi in 1980, followed by post graduate diploma in legal practice in 1981.

Legal career: She served as a magistrate in various courts in the 1980s until 1987 when she ventured into private practice until 2002. Ms Karua played a key role in the expansion of Kenya's democratic space and gender issues during the clamour for multi-partism in the early 1990s. She was among anti-establishment lawyers dubbed 'Young Turks' who stood up against the regime of late former President Daniel Moi and successfully pushed for the re-introduction of multi-party democracy.

As a lawyer, she represented human rights and political activists who fell foul of the Moi regime. Some of the sensitive cases she took up include the treason trial against Mr Koigi wa Wamwere and the late Mirugi Kariuki in the 1990s.

Political career: She was first elected as MP for Gichugu in 1992 and served until 2013 when she unsuccessfully contested the Presidency and finished in sixth position with 43,881 votes. Ms Karua has served as minister in the ministries of Water and Justice until her abrupt resignation after she fell out with late former President Mwai Kibaki in 2008. She was once known as the 'Iron Lady' of Kibaki’s second regime because of her reputation for being tough and her role in defending his government.

In the 2017 general election, she contested the Kirinyaga governor’s seat but lost to Anne Waiguru. She petitioned the High Court to nullify the outcome citing irregularities but lost again in the High court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She took the matter to the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, where she sued the government of Kenya for denying her the right to a fair trial. In her presentation in Arusha, she produced video evidence she had filed at the High Court of Kenya but was lost or stolen while in the court’s custody, but still went ahead to determine the election petition without investigating the issue.

The court found the Kenyan government culpable and awarded her Sh2.7 million in damages for infringement of her right to a fair trial.

Latest articles on Martha Karua:

  1. Kalonzo calls allies for 'big announcement'

    Wiper Kenya party sent out invitations to its legislators for a Monday morning meeting.

    Kalonzo Musyoka
  2. Raila to name deputy today as Wiper threatens walkout

    ODM leader yesterday unveiled the Nairobi County Azimio line-up during a rally at the Kamukunji grounds.

    Raila Ruto running mate choices
  3. Why regional kingpins have little to offer Raila, Ruto

    Paper tigers Mudavadi, Wetang’ula, Uhuru and Karua have little to offer from their backyards in terms of party support.

  4. Kalonzo digs in on Azimio running mate demand

    Mr Musyoka’s reported plans to ditch the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition and join the race for president has gained urgency in the past few days.

    Raila Ruto running mate choices
  5. Ida roots for female deputy for Raila

    Martha Karua, Charity Ngilu and Sabina Chege are gunning to be Raila's deputy.

    Ida Odinga
  6. Mudavadi, Karua lead in running mate race

    Karua’s fortunes extend to Odinga’s Nyanza backyard where 42 percent of locals think she should get the seat.

    ruto raila running mates martha karua mudavadi kalonzo musyoka
  7. Campaign tracker: Six things you need to know about the election today

    Raila heads to Kwale County on the third day of his four-day campaign blitz in the 1.9 million-vote-rich Coast region.

    William Ruto and Raila Odinga
  8. Some North Rift lawyers root for Karua as Raila’s running mate

    Lawyers say Ms Karua is a principled leader who cannot be arm-twisted and deserves the Deputy President’s seat.

  9. Gikuyu elders on Raila running mate: It's Martha Karua for us

    The elders said that out of the 10 politicians interviewed for the role, Ms Karua had the best understanding of politics and democracy.

  10. Martha Karua: I am in Azimio without any conditions

    Ms Karua said she will continue working with Azimio team regardless of the running mate interviews outcome.

    Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua
  11. Raila deputy: Karua, Kenneth, Kalonzo make final shortlist

    The selection panel to submit the three names to Mr Odinga.

    Raila Odinga and Martha Karua


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