, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – She hopes to become Kenya’s first female President, succeeding Mwai Kibaki when he leaves office in 2012.
Justice and Constitution Affairs Minister Martha Karua believes that she has what it takes to be the country’s next Chief Executive Officer and has not let criticism from a host of national leaders and the public derail her presidential ambitions.
Since her election as NARC Kenya Chairperson, Ms Karua has been traversing the country in a resilient bid to sell her vision to the electorate, which is “One Kenya, One People, and One Nation”.
“The response has been very positive but I have not begun campaign yet. I have only given my notice of intention that I will be vying next time round. The focus now is on getting grassroots support for my party,” Ms Karua told Capital News.
The Gichugu legislator was a member of opposition movements that successfully agitated for the re-introduction of multi-party democracy in the country in early 1990s.
One of the most memorable moments in her political career is when she walked out of a rally by former President Daniel Moi in her constituency, waving a clinched fist indicating her unwavering support for the Democratic Party of Kenya, then led by Mwai Kibaki.
Ms Karua worked tirelessly to ensure NARC won the 2002 general election ending Moi’s 24-year rule an act which saw her rewarded with a ministerial position in the new administration.
As Water Minister, Ms Karua came up with the Water Act 2002, which has since then accelerated the pace of water reforms and service provision in the country.
She was later moved to her current docket after then Minister Kiraitu Murungi resigned following implication in a corruption scandal.
A staunch defender of President Kibaki’s, Ms Karua says she doesn’t want any rewards for the countless times she has come to the rescue of the government.
As a Cabinet minister, she reckons that she has a duty to defend the government, having sworn an oath to do so.
“I don’t do what I do to get recognition. You do what is right and what you believe in for that moment.”
During the 2007 disputed presidential election, Ms Karua was among members of Party of National Unity (PNU) who challenged opposition leader Raila Odinga to table proof that the election was indeed rigged, accusing them of being sour loosers.
Ms Karua headed the government’s team in negotiations with the opposition to resoleve the election dispute. The political crisis eventually led to the signing of a power-sharing agreement between Kibaki and Odinga, leading to the formation of the Grand Coalition Cabinet that was announced in April 2008.
Despite serving in Parliament since 1992, Ms Karua says she still has something new to offer Kenyans in terms of governance.
“You judge every body for what they stand for. I urged the public to look at what I stand for today and what I stood for when I was first elected, the record speaks for its self. You must look at the person who seeks election to know if they are really able to push the agenda you want forward.”