By Munene Kamau
Martha Wangari Karua is the second born child of Mr and Mrs Jackson Karua from Kimunye village, Gichugu constituency.
She attended Kabare Girls Boarding school before joining Kiburia girl’s secondary school, and then had a stint at Ngiriambu girls before settling at Karoti girls where she sat for her East African School Certificate.
This was in the early 70’s when secondary schools were scarce and most of those available were the so called Harambees with government ones being so limited.
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The youthful Karua then proceeded to Nairobi girls (now State House) high school where after passing her EASCE embarked on her A levels.
Upon successful completion of her A levels, Karua joined the University of Nairobi where she enrolled for a law degree and upon completion, appointed a magistrate in Nairobi.
She served at Kibera and Makadara Law courts for some time during which; she had not come into the public limelight.
But in 1991, dissident Koigi wa Wamwere, perceived by the powers at the time, was arrested and charged with treason in Nairobi’s High Court.
At the time, 10 lawyers volunteered to provide free legal services to Wamwere and their profile short up unbelievably.
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Karua seized the opportunity and declared she was also enjoining herself with her 10 “learned friends” to offer free presentation to Wamwere and the group instantly won the hearts of many Kenyans.
This was in 1991 and it was the time agitation for the multiparty democracy had reached the pinnacle with Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia leading the onslaught against Kanu.
From then on, there was no turning back for the tough talking Lady from Kimunye village, a rural setup well endowed with small scale tea farming and close to the Mt Kenya forest.
Soon after the introduction of pluralism Karua who was then known as Martha Njoka joined the Ford-Asili headed by Matiba and proceeded for the nominations with her opponent and immediate neighbor the late Geoffrey Kareithi.
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Kareithi was however accused of having rigged her out and she quickly jumped to Mwai Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP) of Kenya.
Being in DP one was assured of a straight ticket to parliament and come the general elections that year, Karua was elected with landslide victory.
At the time Kareithi suffered a humiliating defeat from the youthful Karua and decided to resign from active politics until his death early 2012.
She has been re-elected for the last 20 consecutive years flooring men who have dared her until this time round she has decided to run for presidency.
Karua is a holder of a master’s degree from the United States International University (USIU).
She graduated in 2011 at a ceremony held in Sandiego, USA in accordance with a constitutional requirement that the next Head of State should have this qualification.
The mother of two (Wawira and Njoka), is the Narc-Kenya presidential aspirant and is confident she will be the person to succeed president Kibaki, come the March 4 general elections.
The journey to her present resume has however not been a bed of roses as she has over the years brushed shoulders with the powerful and the mighty.
At one time she walked out of the then president Moi at the Kerugoya stadium after she was denied an opportunity to address the gathering despite the fact that she was a member of parliament.
She also made history when two years ago she resigned from the Coalition government headed by her once confidant, Mwai Kibaki.
She cited high level with the government at the time she resigned and left many Kenyans with the mouths wide open for the bold step she undertook.
Karua, now in her early 50's has defied all the odds to stand her ground for the presidency despite the many calls from certain leaders to step aside for Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dubbed the iron Lady, Karua who appears a lone ranger is set to go up to the ballot stage come the general elections and says she is fully determined not only to finish but to win the tough and crowded race.