Story of Kenyan-Born Australian Ex-senator Who Could Not Raise Ksh 3.2M for Daughter’s Burial

A file photo of Australian Parliament
A file photo of the Australian Parliament

Lucy Gichuhi was born in Mathira, Nyeri County, but later migrated to Australia in 1999 with her husband, William Gichuhi, and their three children. They became naturalized Australian citizens in 2001. 

She received her Bachelor of Law from the University of South Australia in 2015. After completing school, she worked as an accountant before joining politics.


Lucy became the first person of Black African descent to be elected to the Australian Parliament. Before her election, the court raised a question about Gichuhi's eligibility on citizenship grounds.

A file photo of Australia Ex-Senator Lucy Gichuhi in a group photo of senators
A file photo of Australia Ex-Senator Lucy Gichuhi in a group photo of senators
Lucy Gichuhi

However, this was not an issue as Kenya did not allow dual citizenship and she became an Australian citizen.

She served as a Senator for South Australia from 2017 to 2019 following a special vote recount of the April 2016 election, ordered by the High Court.

Her winning mentored Larry Mboga, a Kenyan immigrant living in the United States who won as a member of the Eau Clair Council in the state of Wisconsin under the Democratic Party


In 2018, she got into trouble after her travel records revealed that she owed taxpayers Ksh216, 327 for two return airfares that she used to fly two relatives for her birthday party.

The allowance was a fund that MPs could use to pay for family members to join them on ­parliamentary, the electorate, or official business at Commonwealth expense.

The same year, she advertised a rental property she couldn't sell for just Ksh10,088 per week while struggling with almost Ksh1,252,600 in unpaid council bills.

The financial disaster landed Lucy and her husband, William, in court seven times for failing to pay council rates and water bills.

The Kenyan-born couple owned six Australian properties, snapping up three rundown houses in the South Australian steelworks city of Whyalla northwest of Adelaide in 2005 for Ksh6,386,888, Ksh8,054,400, and Ksh8,180,250.

Property records revealed two of the small homes were put up for sale over three years, but the homes were withdrawn from the market after failing to sell. One of the homes did not sell despite being listed on a staggering four occasions.  

Daughter's Demise

The Gichuhi's problems intensified in 2021 when their daughter died. The family opened an online fundraising account, pleading with well-wishers to help them raise the money to bring her body to Kenya and accord her a proper send-off.

However, the former Senator only managed to raise Ksh41,000 before closing down the fundraiser forcing them to bury her in Adelaide, Australia after failing to raise Ksh3.2 million.

“A little here and there will go a long way in making this possible and lessening the huge financial burden to her family as they come to terms with this devastating loss of their firstborn,” read the message on the online fundraiser.

A file photo of Australia Ex-Senator Lucy Gichuhi(right) and her husband William Gichuhi(left)
A file photo of Australia Ex-Senator Lucy Gichuhi(right) and her husband William Gichuhi(left)
Lucy Gichuhi

Troubled Personal Life

In 2019, Gichuhi published a book, Behind The Smile: From the Slopes of Mount Kenya to Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, that outlined her childhood as a barefoot farmer who did not own a pair of shoes until she was 12 to become a senator.

She also shared about growing up in a violent environment and ending up in a troubled marriage.

Gichuhi stated that her marriage was full of emotional, verbal, financial, and eventually physical abuse. 

She opened up on finding William in bed with her younger sister and losing all faith in the institution of marriage, unsure if she could ever trust him again.

"I momentarily thought of smashing his head with a drink bottle but then I remembered that I am an Australian now and domestic violence law would catch up with me.

All hell broke loose,William did not say anything to me that whole week. He was furious. I asked him about a bill that needed to be paid.

Suddenly, he charged at me like a raging bull and slapped me so hard across the face. He then hit the wardrobe with his hand and broke the mirror but hurt his hand, which started bleeding,” she narrated in part.

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