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. ‘Hot air!’ Karua retorts at Supreme Court’s full judgment

    The judges dismissed submissions by lawyer Julie Soweto on Jose Camargo as 'hot air'.

    Karua Koome
  2. Martha Karua marks 65th birthday in style

    The birthday ceremony saw top Azimio la Umoja coalition politicians come together to make merry.

    Martha Karua birthday
  3. Work with Ruto but don't kneel down - Karua to Abdulswamad

    Karua was speaking at the inauguration of Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir.

    Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Party Presidential running mate Martha Karua
  4. Ruto wanted to lead Kenya since he was in class four

    When he was in class four Dr Ruto had told his family members that he would one day rise to become Kenya’s President

    President-elect William Ruto.
  5. How Kisumu 'defied prophets of doom', kept peace after Raila loss

    Ahead of the polls, there had been several predictions of violence, with businesses closing and international media outlets setting up base there to serve the menu to global audiences. Residents...

    Kisumu kondele protests raila odinga ruto iebc
  6. Orengo faults Supreme Court judgment on election

    Orengo termed the verdict as an embarrassment to those who fought for independence of judiciary in the country.

    Siaya Senator James Orengo.
  7. Karua mulls moving to Arusha court after petition ruling

    Karua said decision to go to the regional court is a personal choice and not of Azimio.

    Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua
  8. Mt Kenya Azimio leaders congratulate Ruto for his victory

    For his part, Mr Wambugu called upon President Kenyatta to congratulate the President-elect.

    Kanini Kega of Kieni (left) and Ngunjiri Wambugu
  9. Raila and Martha: We accept, but disagree with Supreme Court verdict

    The Supreme Court has thrown out Azimio’s petition and upheld Ruto.'s win.

    Raila Odinga Martha Karua supreme court petition kenya election ruto iebc
  10. Karua: We will accept Supreme Court verdict

    Ms Karua said they wanted to maintain peace but for this to be achieved there must be justice.

    Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party running mate Martha Karua and presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
  11. It’s an endless steeplechase for women political leaders

    As soon as you were done with one obstacle. another awaited.

  12. Smartmatic: We will not open our servers to Raila Odinga

    Smartmatic said that providing full access would infringe its intellectual property rights.

    A polling clerk uses a Kiems kit to identify a voter.
  13. Election petition: Raila to access IEBC servers

    Court says this will enable Raila to prove whether systems were breached and votes rigged.

    Supreme Court
  14. In Photos: Azimio supporters hold solidarity demo

    Azimio supporters stood out at Milimani Law Courts with their colourful attire and posters.

    Azimio supporters supreme court petition raila odinga martha karua
  15. Karua: Army of foreign hackers rigged election

    Odinga and Karua allege the rigging began in March 2022 through intrusion into and tampering with the IEBC systems by foreign nationals.

    Azimio la Umoja coalition running mate Martha Karua
  16. Raila: Court will overturn Ruto win

    Martha Karua was in Homa Bay County to witness the swearing-in of Gladys Wanga as the first woman governor in the Nyanza region.


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