January 22nd 2018

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Martha Karua defects to Jubilee, the last notable Kikuyu leader to return 'home'

"The last domino in Gikuyu country has fallen with @MarthaKarua now backing @UKenyatta and Jubilee. The tribe once again TRUMPS nation," wrote Prof. Makau Mutua, a close friend of Ms Karua's who also contributed to multiparty struggles.

By Oscar NdundaThursday, 10 Nov 2016 19:26 EAT

Ms Martha Karua.

The defection of Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua to the Jubilee coalition sent shockwaves in her native Kirinyaga County and nationally. A pioneer in the struggle for multiparty politics in the late 1980s, the former Justice minister had been a long time critic of President Uhuru Kenyatta until her sudden announcement of the decision that she will support the president's re-election next year.

Also surprising was the reason she gave for her decision: “President Kenyatta is doing all he can to fight against corruption and I fully support him on that. I will join hands with the president to fight graft across the country,” said Ms Karua, at a time when the president faces widespread criticism about his perceived failure to fight graft.

Ms Karua’s defection sent a shockwave through Kirinyaga County where she is due to face five other aspirants for the gubernatorial position. While addressing over 400 Narc-Kenya delegates at the Kianyaga Catholic Church hall in Gichugu on Thursday, she said she would support President Uhuru because the president was "doing well" and needs "support", which she would now provide.

Her defection was the last of nationally-recognised Kikuyu leaders who had opposed the president's election in 2013. Another figure, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, announced his defection to Jubilee two weekends ago. "The last domino in Gikuyu country has fallen with @MarthaKarua now backing @UKenyatta and Jubilee. The tribe once again TRUMPS nation," wrote Prof. Makau Mutua, a close friend of Ms Karua who also contributed to multiparty struggles, otherwise known as the 'second liberation.'

The announcement stunned many as Ms Karua had in recent times allied herself with the opposition to heap pressure on the government especially on matters of electoral reforms and corruption. Ms Karua however ruled out any possibility of dissolving her party to join the Jubilee Party, saying she would run for  Kirinyaga governor on the Narc-Kenya ticket. “Narc-Kenya is not forming alliances with coalition either Jubilee or CORD, I will be running for the seat under my party’s ticket,” added Karua. 

The Kirinyaga seat has attracted several aspirants seeking to oust incumbent Joseph Ndathi. These include former cabinet minister for Devolution Anne Waiguru, Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari and Muriithi Kagai, a businessman. Kenya's ambassador to the United States Njeru Githae is also believed to be interested in the seat.

The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press

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