[1]Martha Karua was born in Kirinyaga as a daughter to Jackson Karua in 22nd September 1957. She was born in a family of 8 children having three sisters and four brothers.


Karua is commonly referred to as the ‘Iron Lady’ in Kenya due to her ‘no-nonsense’ personality and toughness in the field mostly perceived to be male dominated. She went to school at Kabare Girls High School then Kiburia Girls Secondary School. She then proceeded to Karoti Girls High School where she did her East African School certificate.


[2] She became an advocate in social justice by profession after studying Law at the University of Nairobi. Her prowess in law led her in the direction of politics, and she became one of the most influential women in politics in Kenya. After graduating from The Kenya School of Law she worked as District Magistrate, and rose to become a Senior Magistrate. She worked as a district magistrate at various courts like Makadara, Kibera Law Courts before venturing into starting her own Law Firm. The Iron lady became a member of parliament for Gichugu constituency in the year 1992. She was well respected for her strong opinions and defending her views in every political issue.

[3]Karua worked as a counsel for human rights activists and those who were agitating for democracy in the early 1990s. Kenya was under one party state during President Daniel Moi era even if that was a risky undertaking. Kenya was under dictatorship government, and being in politics as an opposition especially as a woman was rough and deadly.

She was the engine for the 2002 water act that was aimed at improving water access across the country. She was the woman that led women voters and has received different awards for her achievements not only in the corridors of justice but also in parliament. Karua was a powerful person to reckon with when it comes to advancing women rights gender equality issues.

The Gichugu Member of Parliament became more outstanding and powerful after NARC (National Rainbow Coalition) Party came to power in 2003. She then served cabinet minister Justice under Mwai KIbaki’s cabinet till 2009 when she resigned after citing frustrations from the government in discharging her duties. This made her to be the first minister to resign voluntarily since 2003. Although Martha was sidelined after the 2007 election was followed by tribal violence, [4]’’she has stood for what is right, for social Justice and for the Kenyan people for the past twenty years”. [5]She stood for what was right. This was seen once when she was the chair of the National Rainbow Coalition when she walked out of a trade union-sponsored debate between the presidential candidates as a sign of protest. This was because of Prime Minister’s running mate who attended on behalf of Raila Odinga.

She prioritized fighting corruption through true constitutionalism. This made her emphasize on the justice system to have a different and new spirit of constitutionalism as this will help fight corruption. Fighting corruption would bring a difference as it will influence largely in developing the country’s infrastructure.

She is one of the powerful forces that helped in the development of Family Law, and also in deciding on the distribution of matrimonial property. Her contribution was immense in forming the National Rainbow Coalition that ended the reign KANU for nearly 4 decades. She is one of the people who will forever be remembered by what she achieved in politics.

[1] Opera News

[2] Aljazeera

[3] https://prabook.com/web/martha.karua/1344233

[4] Mark Bichachi, Senior political strategist

[5] Aljazeera



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