By Prudence Minayo
Sandra Ochola is a lawyer by profession and the current speech writer of President Uhuru Kenyatta. She has served as the deputy director, research and speech writing at the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) within the president’s Executive Office.
In 2018, she was the Obama Foundation leader and was also voted 100 most influential young Africans of that year. She is a passionate mentee to the young people, as she has faith in their potential to better the quality of cultural, social, economic and political pursuits in the country. This is one of the reasons she wrote the book, Teen Guide to the Constitution of Kenya.
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Here is her story as told by WoK.
The mother of one daughter graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, a Postgraduate diploma in Law and a Masters in International Studies.
What it takes to write the speech for the head of state
The aim of coming up with a speech is to facilitate the president’s message so that it is clearly delivered to the public. According to Sandra Ochola, as a presidential speech writer, one has to capture and fully reflect the ideas of the head of state.
“And of course, then it has to be inspirational and visionary. You also get to capture his aspirations, while reading the mood of the country. It’s ideally a team effort,” she said in an interview with Business Daily Africa.
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After writing the speech, it has to go through several other people before it is approved. This is the reason no one writer could have monopoly over the writing. It has to be edited and in the process a few lines or words may be deleted.
The 38- year-old is a mother to a teenage girl. The father of her daughter passed away in 2019 and she has had to fill the gap. In a past interview, she revealed that she struggles with confidence in mothering. Having grown up in a strict background, she did not want the same for her daughter. However, while she values friendship with her daughter she knows that as a parent you can’t be a friend all the time.
“Confidence in mothering. I’ve got a daughter, she’s turning 13. I got her when I was 24 years old and quickly realised that there is no manual in parenting. Coming from a strict background, I feel that I wanted to be less strict, to be her friend but then as she grows older I realise that you cannot be your child’s friend all the time. You have to balance between being a mother and being a friend”, She told BD Jackson Biko of her mothering journey.
The Advocate of the high court is also a mother of four cats named: Poppy, Iris, Biscuit and Oreo. Oreo is the only male cat. The cats all celebrate their birthdays on April 15.
As she gets older, Sandra Ochola has discovered that work is not everything. She is investing in improving her social life hence the reason she goes out to network and make friends.
“I realized quite late that I have been very work-oriented and looking back, I got a lot of my satisfaction from what I did, where I worked. But I think as time goes by, you realise that it’s important for you to be a wholesome individual. “
One of her greatest fears is death since she believes there is so much more she can accomplish.