A Kenyan-born woman, Mrs. Lucy Gichuhi, has been elected as a senator in Australia to replace the former senator for South Australia Bob Day.
Mrs. Gichuhi, a lawyer by profession, has been declared the winner of the special senate vote following a recount ordered by the Australian High Court last week, according to ABC News.
“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity to serve Australia. I see it as an opportunity to give back to this great nation,” Mrs. Gichuhi said in a statement.
However, the High Court is yet to officially declare her the winner as it is still expected to consider questions that have been raised about her citizenship.
There have been concerns that Mrs. Gichuhi holds dual citizenship, which could prevent her from assuming her seat in the senate. But she maintains that she is an Australian citizen and has never held dual citizenship.
Confirming the eligibility issue, Australia’s acting shadow Attorney-General Katy Gallagher told ABC News that the election of a senator is of paramount importance and therefore the validity of each senator should be beyond reproach.
“I am an Australian citizen and am eligible to serve. I will continue to take advice on all of these matters as we move forward,” Gichuhi said.
Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia Mr. Isaiya Kabira has come out to support her saying she automatically lost her Kenyan citizenship the moment she became an Australian citizen.
Born in 1963 in Nyeri County, central Kenya, Lucy Gichuhi was brought up in a poor family, walking barefoot to school and sharing a single bed with her eight sisters.
She also had to juggle between school and domestic chores such as milking cows and gathering food for her family from their garden.
After high school, Gichuhi joined the University of Nairobi where she did a course in accounting and proceeded to work as an accountant with several local auditing firms before relocating to South Australia with her husband William Gichuhi and their three children in 1999.
“You have to help with going to the garden to pick the next meal for the day, because we didn’t go to the shops for food, or you go help milk the cows,” Mrs. Gichuhi was quoted by the ABC News as saying.
She completed her Bachelor of Law degree from the University of South Australia in 2015 and immediately began volunteering as a women’s legal services attorney.
The cheerful attorney was later appointed to the Australian Senate by the Family First Party and went on to win the 2016 election after a special recount of the vote.