Gichugu MP Martha Karua launched her presidential bid with a pledge to resettle IDPs, and improve food security and education.
She also promised to work for better health care and living conditions for Kenyans.
“For years, we (politicians) have taken advantage of this sense of helplessness to treat citizens like spectators and not as participants in their own destiny,” she said at the National Museums of Kenya grounds on Wednesday afternoon.
Ms Karua said that if elected, she would provide leadership to empower Kenyans.
Under the slogan Twajitokeza, which roughly translates to “We are in the race”, she urged Kenyans to support her as she seeks the Narc Kenya nomination for the presidential race in 2012.
So far, seven other politicians have announced interest in the presidency but only Ms Karua has launched an official campaign.
The seven are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, and MPs William Ruto, Mutava Musyimi, Eugene Wamalwa, and Moses Wetang’ula.
Ms Karua expressed concern at the slow pace of development in Kenya, adding that there was little improvement to deal with the problems that have affected Kenyans since independence.
“Too many people in Kenya today are working harder and harder for less and less,” she said, citing the current soaring food prices.
The legislator’s parents, Mr Jackson Karua and Mrs Josephine Wanjiru Karua, were among those present at the function in support of their second-born child.
Mr Karua expressed confidence that his daughter would take the country to greater heights because she upheld leadership principles.
“A country will only prosper if the leader upholds the truth and has their eyes on God,” he told the Nation during an interview after the launch on Wednesday.
Speakers at the function included Ms Jane Mbula, a vegetable vendor in Mukuru Kaiyaba slums, who expressed concern over the high food prices, and Mr Mohammed Ali, an International Relations undergraduate student at the United States International University-Kenya.
“I am certain we will have a great home with the loving care of a loving mother,” Mr Ali said.
Other speakers included a farmer from Kisii, Ms Fridah Kwamboka, and Mr Mutuku Munyoki, a Nairobi-based businessman.
Ms Karua plans to use a website and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in her campaign.
She urged Kenyans to take up collective responsibility. “It is this sense of duty to each other that unites us as a people and as a country,” she said.
“We must uphold the rule of law, meaning we get more kilometres of road, more kilolitres of water, and more kilowatts of electricity per shilling.”