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’s big mountain to climb

    Kalonzo has formed a think-tank on how to win over vote-rich region.

    Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka
  2. PREMIUM Karua: I'm best suited to succeed Raila in Azimio

    Ms Karua has dismissed Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka as lacking the authority to step into Mr Odinga’s shoes.

    Martha Karua
  3. PREMIUM Murmurs in Mt Kenya: Win for Karua-Kioni wing, threat for Gachagua

    Karua and Kioni out to capitalise on the growing disenchantment in Mt Kenya region.

    Jeremiah Kioni, Martha Karua and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
  4. PREMIUM Ignored or indifferent? Karua’s Azimio dilemma

    Karua was a heartbeat away from being the country’s first female deputy president.

     Raila Odinga and Martha Karua
  5. PREMIUM Which way Azimio? Opposition calls make-or-break meeting

    Azimio top brass has been reading from different scripts.

    Azimio Interdenominational prayer service
  6. PREMIUM Together apart: The trouble within Raila''s Azimio

    Opposition members have rejected claims of a split, despite some public outbursts.

    Azimio la Umoja leaders
  7. PREMIUM For Margaret Nyakango, when it rains it pours

    Margaret Nyakang'o, the Controller of Budget, has for four years kept an eye on the use of public funds and cited expenditure breaches.

  8. Raila, Karua differ over return of demos

    Karua says cost of living, electoral justice and respect for political rights are non-negotiable.

     Raila Odinga with Martha Karua
  9. Monica, Koigi Wamwere's mother, buried in Nakuru

    Mr Wamwere described his mother as a confidante and a courageous woman.

  10. Gachagua now reaches out to Azimio leaders in Mt Kenya

    He says he was keen to ensure that the interests of the region were represented in Kenya Kwanza.

    Rigathi Gachagua
  11. PREMIUM Jitters in Raila camp over Karua, Kioni new ‘Kamwene’ group

    Leading opposition figures concerned over Karua-Kioni’s lukewarm support for ongoing bipartisan talks between Ruto and Raila camps

    Raila Odinga
  12. Beth Mugo hailed as a women empowerment champion at memoir launch

    Hers was a career marked by groundbreaking achievements.

  13. Eric Ng’eno: Secret meetings - When denial is more than just a river in Egypt

    What, exactly, was Ms Karua denying?

    Martha Karua and William Ruto
  14. Many men can't handle a woman with boundaries

    Strong women have standards and limits, not attitudes.

  15. You are compromised: Azimio tell ICC prosecutor Karim Khan

    Azimio claims Khan's visit could potentially compromise the impartiality of the international court.

    ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan at MKU
  16. Raila's Azimio plots to storm Nairobi city centre on day 3 of protests

    However, by 11:30am, there was little action around Jeevanjee Gardens.

    Jeevanjee Gardens
  17. Raila seeks 10 million signatures 'to remove Ruto’

    Article 145 of the constitution, however, does not list signature collection as part of the requirement for impeaching a president.

    Raila Odinga
  18. Finance Bill 2023: Azimio to hold rally next week

    The rally will be held at the historic Kamukunji grounds on Tuesday next week.

    Raila, Kalonzo and Karua at Kasarani for final rally.
  19. I'll do whatever it takes to unite Kenya - Ruto

    He warned against any plot by leaders to pursue an agenda of "sabotage for political gain".

  20. Azimio principals to skip National Prayer Breakfast

    The opposition leaders confirmed receipt of the invitation to attend the event but declined to honour it.

    Azimio leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Martha Karua