In a developing country where the notion that “the place of the woman is in the kitchen” still holds roots, and where chauvinism cannot be wished off, one woman is standing tall against all odds. She has set out to counter any dispiriting forces as she embarks on a daring mission in the race to succeed incumbent Kenyan president; Mwai Kibaki. It has emerged, much to the dismay of her critics that her candidacy no longer can be looked down upon; she’s a force to reckon with.
Martha Karua has been the Gichugu constituency legislator for the last two decades and still counting. She is indisputably one of the most powerful female politicians in Kenya and thus it was not surprising the stirrups that her declaration that she would be seeking the country’s presidency elicited.
The fifty four year old law maker has for the longest time been giving the top Kenyan political class a run for their money. Hers is a strong and matchless personality that has led to her been branded as “the iron lady of Kenyan politics”.
Her fearless persona has seen her gain prominence in the Kenyan political scene, while at the same time endearing her more to the Kenyan electorate. The most memorable of which are when she walked out on former president Moi, and in the not so distant past when she resigned from her cabinet position, citing frustration in delegation of her duties. The latter was a big blow to president Kibaki, since Karua had been very vocal in campaigning for his second term, what had seen her branded “the only man in PNU” by ODM parliamentarians.
She is renowned for strongly advocating for the rule of law in Kenya, fighting fearlessly for equality among all citizens. Another of her potency is her valiant combat of corruption in the country. She has also been a leading crusader for the widening of democratic space and gender issues in Kenya.
Karua has in recent days been engaging Kenyan citizens in her series of campaigns, as she seeks to familiarize herself with the issues on the ground. She is the most active presidential aspirant on social media, commanding well over 150,000 followers on facebook, one of the largest followings commanded by a single individual in Kenya. She comes in at a very close second to Uhuru Kenyatta, himself a presidential aspirant.
Her critiques say that being a “lone ranger” may work against her, claims that Karua has disproved saying that she is banking on the endorsement of the Kenyan electorate and not that of her fellow politicians.
|Martha karua flags off a cycling event in aid of the orphans and the less fortunate|
The NARC –KENYA leader promises to tackle the issue of corruption as a matter of urgency should she clinch the presidency. She blames corruption and the major cartels running the show in the Kenyan economy for making the cost living in the country rise to unmanageable levels, leaving ordinary Kenyans struggling to survive.
|Martha Karua engaging with the public during her campaigns|
Political analysts have observed that her proven development track record as a minister and mp coupled with the fact that her campaign is issue based and not merely political play may work in her favor. In the meantime Karua continues to engage the citizenry through tweets, status updates and establishing secretariats throughout the country ahead of the phenomenal presidential election.
Could this woman be Kenya’s next president? ......only time will tell……