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Martha Karua Biography, Age, Family, Education & Political Career

Life is for the bold; those who try. You never can win without trying“- Martha Karua.

Martha Wangari Karua is the Narc Kenya party leader and now Raila Odinga’s running mate in the forthcoming presidential elections. She is best known for speaking her mind the repercussion notwithstanding. As such, Karua is regarded as the iron lady of Kenyan politics. The reason behind this tag is because of her daring nature. She has previously walked out on two sitting presidents and also resigned from a high echelon position when she served as the minister for justice, cohesion and constitutional affairs.

You’d not easily find Karua smiling in public. Asked about this, she opens up: “I like a good laugh just like anybody else but I’m not going to laugh about people plundering the country. I am not going to laugh about people being denied basic services that sometimes lead to losses of lives.”


She was born on 22nd September, 1957. Karua is currently 63 years old.


Karua is a second born in a family of eight; four boys and four girls. Her mother, Josephine Wanjiru Karua worked as a teacher but was forced to quit the job immediately after marriage.

Martha Karua is a mother of two: a son and a daughter who are currently adults. She has played a great part in the upbringing of her children and detailed that she used to drive them to school. Moreover, the former Gichugu MP used to take them out for various leisure activities such as swimming and playing golf.


She studied in various primary schools then went on to Karoti Girls in Kirinyaga. Between 1977 and 1980, Karua studied law at the University of Nairobi then went on to pursue a postgraduate diploma at the Kenya School of Law.


From early ’80s up to 1987, Karua worked as a district magistrate in Nakuru and Makadara. She then served as a senior resident magistrate at Kibra Law Courts. However, due to the perceived dictatorial KANU regime, that had declared Kenya a one party state, she resigned from her position to venture into private practice.


According to Karua, President Daniel Moi’s government was slowly taking control and alienating crucial socio- political groups such as Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU). She was concerned that the next target was the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), a move that would be detrimental to the fight of justice in Kenya.

As an advocate, Karua is remembered for having defended veteran politician Koigi wa Wamwere who was facing treason charges for his defiance against the government.

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In the midst of the 1992 multiparty euphoria, Karua was bold enough to vie for the Gichugu Constituency seat. However, she was forced to resign from Kenneth Matiba’s FORD Asili on allegations of being shortchanged for the party’s ticket. She decamped to Mwai Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP) and went on to clinch the seat. She represented the region for over two decades.

Walking out on President Moi 

Having cut her political teeth in the opposition trenches, Karua’s most dramatic moment was when she walked out of President Moi’s event in June, 2001. The head of state had convened a fundraiser at Kerugoya, a place that was perceived as an opposition stronghold.

Despite most opposition leaders giving the event a wide berth, Karua chose to attend and even sat next to the president. However, she was irked by some KANU politicians speaking negative of the opposition.

One of the local chairmen started talking ill of the opposition – actually saying that we were mad to ever imagine that Kenya could ever been ruled from Othaya (meaning Kibaki’s bid). I thought that was in very bad taste,” she revealed in a past interview.

And the iron lady was not going to take this lying down as she immediately sought to address the gathering. However, her plans hit a snag. But as they say actions speak louder than words, Karua walked out of the event immediately President Moi rose up to speak. There was a deafening silence for a moment as she waved to the crowd while finding her way out.

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After the end of KANU’s reign, Karua served as the minister for water and also in the justice, cohesion and constitutional affairs docket. She however resigned from the later position in 2009 accusing President Kibaki and former Chief Justice Evans Gicheru of derailing the quest for judicial reforms.

In 2013, Karua unsuccessfully vied for the country’s top seat. In 2017, she lost to Anne Waiguru in the Kirinyaga gubernatorial contest. Prior to this, she had also walked out of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political rally in 2016 when she met an unfriendly crowd which silenced her with chants of ‘jubilee’ muting her voice.

Deputy President William Ruto decided to intervene by asking her to decamp from the Narc – Kenya party. However, she resisted the move and walked out of the rally.

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2022 General Elections 

Martha Karua is the running mate to Azimio-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga. It is thought that her candidature will help the coalition in slashing Kenya Kwanza’s influence in the Mount Kenya region.