Kenyan born and educated Lucy Gichuhi is making her way into the history books after being elected as a Senator in South Australia.
She was elected after the Australian High Court declared the victory of the original winner of the election, Bod Day, unconstitutional.
The former senator reportedly resigned last November, citing the liquidation of his building companies as the primary reason. A special recount of the South Australian ballot papers was then ordered by the courts with the Australian Electoral Commission advising that Ms. Gichuhi is the one to replace Mr. Day.
Gichuhi, who migrated to Australia with her husband in 1999, is now set to become the first candidate of African descent to be elected to the country’s federal parliament.
The High Court will, however, need to officially declare the election recount before she assumes office as some questions are hanging over her eligibility to hold the office.
The immigrant lawmaker’s nationality during the election has been called into question with the Australian Constitution not giving room for dual citizenship holders to hold office.
Lucy Gichuhi maintains she never held dual citizenship and she backed by the fact that the repealed Kenyan Constitution which was used during the time she moved down under, did not allow dual citizenship. She became a citizen in 2001.
“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity to serve Australia. I see it as an opportunity to give back to this great nation,” said Ms. Gichuhi.
“I do not intend on commenting on the processes that have brought us to this point. As a lawyer, I am deeply respectful of both the legal and electoral processes. 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.”
Lucy, who ran on the Family First ticket, grew up on the slopes of Mt Kenya. She trained as an accountant at the University of Nairobi and later worked with various auditing firms before moving to South Australia in 1999 with her husband and three children.
Her resumé boasts of experience at Ernst and Young and the South Australian Auditor-General’s department where she was tasked with developing programs for migrants and international students.
She went on to complete a Bachelor of Law from the University of South Australia in 2015 before getting into politics. Following her election loss, Ms. Gichuhi has volunteered as a lawyer for the Women’s Legal Service.
After the declaration by the courts, Lucy Gichuhi will be sworn in on May 9, when parliament resumes after its break.