President Uhuru Kenyatta with Kenyan-born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi, who paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on January 16, 2018. PHOTO | PSCU
Uhuru meets Kenyan-born Australian senator Gichuhi
When her family left for Australia at a time when they and the country were facing a difficult period, not much had prepared Lucy Gichuhi for her life right now.
At, 55, she is the first senator of African descent in the Australian Senate.
Ms Gichuhi’s story is that of a foreign country that opened its arms to her raw dream, and consistent effort at getting involved in politics and wanting the best for herself and her children.
On Tuesday, Ms Gichuhi was hosted by President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, and was given the honour of a foreign dignitary — something she could not have imagined when her family left for Australia in 1999.
During the meeting, President Kenyatta said he was particularly keen to see a regular exchange programme that would facilitate sharing of ideas between Kenyan and Australian people.
He said the exchange of ideas should also apply at the professional and cultural levels among other areas of mutual benefit.
The Head of State said Kenya could learn a lot from Australia which has been a democracy for 200 years.
The meeting was also attended by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, Principal Secretary Monica Juma and High Commissioner to Australia Isaiya Kabira.
Speaking on he journey to becoming a senator, Ms Gichuhi in an interview last week at her home in Hiriga Nyeri County said: “My toughest moment was getting to the point where I would have lost going to the Senate.
Not because I am not competent, experienced or lacked the skills needed but because of issues of race and identity. It was a tough moment.”
The Nation found her in the family’s timber kitchen preparing food for her father Justus Weru Munyiri.
Ms Gichuhi is the first-born in a family of eight.
Right from her campaign, the senator said she wanted to set an example for her children: “Why go for something lower when you can aim higher?”
Armed with 1,000 Australian dollars (about Sh82,000) donation, she battled for the Senate seat with the resolve of her life.
She came second in the respective senatorial seat, but got the seat after her predecessor, Bob Day of Family First Party, lost the seat after the country’s high court ruled that he was not validly elected.
Ms Gichuhi commended Kenya, saying last year’s election was a major milestone in terms of entrenching democracy.
Additional reporting by Patrick Lang’at and PSCU