Brave Form three student who challenged Uhuru to state his legacy

Joyce Nyawira, a form Three student at M-Pesa Academy in Thika who asked President Uhuru Kenyatta a question on what he wants to be remembered for by the end of his term in 2022. [Kamau Maichuhie/standard]
When President Uhuru Kenyatta asked Joyce Nyawira, a Form Three student at M-Pesa Foundation Academy in Thika, if she had a question for him, he did not know what lay in store for him.

To Nyawira, it was like an ambush when the President picked her out during a question-and-answer session at the school last week.

Mr Kenyatta officially opened the Sh3 billion academy built by M-Pesa Foundation.

However, being a student who is always ready to tackle any situation, Nyawira quickly put her act together and asked the Head of State a question that left dignitaries, teachers, parents and fellow students baffled.

Cohesive society

Off the top of her head, the student asked the President what he would like to be remembered for once he leaves office in 2022.

“I hope for many things, but one is that I will leave a united and cohesive society, and that we shall have won the war on corruption,” Uhuru responded, clearly impressed by the girl's question.

That question and answer pointed to how serious the President is about his legacy.

In an interview with The Standard, Nyawira said she had the country's welfare on her mind when she asked the question.

“At first I did not know what to ask but for a long time I have been concerned about the welfare of the people. For the interest of my country, I had to ask a question that was going to relate to all Kenyans,” said Nyawira.

She added: “With time I have learnt that fear is never part of my life. I knew the President is accommodating and loves listening to young people. I have learnt that confidence is something that wins everyone,” she said.

Nyawira said she was happy and satisfied with the Head of State's response.

The girl from Makuyu, Murang’a County, is a confident, go-getter with a big ambition; she wants to  become Kenya’s Chief Justice one day.

She ended up at the M-Pesa Academy by default after her parents failed to raise the school fees to take her to Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls where she had been admitted to Form One.

She thanks Murang’a Teachers College Primary School head teacher Lucy Nderitu for encouraging her to apply to theacademy.

Nyawira said she is determined to excel in her studies in order to change her family's fortunes. Her mother runs a vegetable kiosk in her village while her father is a groundsman at Murang’a Teachers Training College.

After completing her secondary education, Nyawira hopes to pursue law at the prestigious Harvard University in the US. And her dream is not far-fetched.

Speaking during the event, Safaricom Foundation Chairman Michel Joseph said they would educate students up to university level in institutions of their choice around the world free of charge.

Nyawira’s love for law emanates from the sentencing, sometime back, of her brother to six months imprisonment for an offence, she believes, he never committed. “My brother’s case inspired me to take up law so that I can be a defender of the voiceless and ensure that justice is served,” she said.

PLO Lumumba

Shesingled out lawyers Paul Muite, PLO Lumumba and Judy Thongori as her role models.

Nyawira said the President told her he looked forward to seeing her become Chief Justice.

“He (Uhuru) told me that he was very impressed with me and that I had great potential. He told me that he would closely monitor my progress and encouraged me to work hard in my studies,” Nyawira, a member of the school’s debate club, said.

Asenath Kemunto, Nyawira’s class teacher, described her as a focused and resilient student.

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Joyce NyawiraM-Pesa Foundation AcademyPresident Uhuru Kenyatta