“When your mind is stretched then you realize you have potential in you that you didn’t even realize you had. There is something that is awaken in you and that is the time now you realize that there is some strength in you“- Timothy Wanyonyi Wetangula (2019).
Timothy Wanyonyi is the current Member of Parliament for Westlands Constituency in Nairobi and has already launched his bid for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat under the slogan ‘tuchangamshe, tubadilishe.’
Unlike his elder brother Moses Wetangula who is known to be a vocal parliamentarian, Wanyonyi has always maintained a rather quiet profile. He has steered clear of controversy and put his energies on development projects in his constituency.
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And in a political ring characterised with individuals with giant egos bordering on arrogance, Wanyonyi has remained unbridled in the face of his political rivals by being the opposite. This article takes a comprehensive dig into the life of the second term MP.
Family and Background
Wanyonyi was brought up in Mukhweya village, Kabuchai Constituency in Bungoma County. He is a seventh born and was brought up in abject poverty, a matter that forced him to repeat classes severally as he sacrificed for his younger siblings to also achieve education.
Wanyonyi is married and is a father of 3; two girls (twins) and a son.
He began schooling at Lurende Primary School then attended St. Marys Kibabii Boys High School (Bungoma) and Nairobi School.
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Wanyonyi turned down a slot to study arts in University of Nairobi and chose to pursue law in India. According to the legislator, his elder brother influenced him to study law as he would urge him to attend court sessions. Wanyonyi relished the organization of court proceedings.
In early 1990’s Timothy Wetangula joined the University of Delhi to pursue law-Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). Wanyonyi came back and joined the Kenya School of Law to undertake a Post Graduate Diploma in Laws.
Cause of Disability
In 1998, Wanyonyi was just a novice lawyer practising in his brother’s law firm. He was a buoyant soul, full of ambition and a young father.
However, that is the year that he almost lost his life in a carjacking incident in Ngara, Nairobi after he was attacked and shot by a gang.
“I heard somebody shout: ‘shoot him!’ Then something hit me at the back and all of a sudden I completely lost myself and fell down. I tried to stand up but I couldn’t.”
“They put me on top of a pickup and rushed me to Aga Khan hospital. It was so painful that I thought I was not going to make it. I was bleeding a lot,” Wanyonyi told Citizen TV’s Lilian Muli Kanene.
At Aga Khan hospital, he spent 3 days and his doctor delivered depressing news that he had suffered a permanent spinal cord injury that would leave him confined to a wheelchair for his entire life.
Wanyonyi was flown to Brussels for rehabilitation treatment that would help him cope with disability and make him less dependent on people. His wife was not allowed to stay with him in the hospital because it could hinder the rehabilitation program.
When he returned back to Kenya, Wanyonyi says his wife’s support was critical in helping him navigate through life as a disabled man.
“She was actually the source of my strength. When I left, we were living in a flat which now was impossible for me to get there on a wheelchair. She had managed to get a house that was accessible – a new home which was much more easier for me to manage,” recalls Wanyonyi.
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Career and Politics
After this unfortunate incident, Wanyonyi was frustrated at work when he realized his files were being moved to other lawyers. He resented the matter and urged his colleagues not to sympathize with his disability as he was still able to offer legal services.
Later on, he founded his own law firm called Timothy Wanyonyi and Company Advocates and is also the brainchild behind the Kenya Paraplegic Organization.
In 2008, Wanyonyi was nominated as a councillor (now MCA) in Nairobi City Council.
Under the ODM party, Wanyonyi won the Westlands parliament seat in 2013 elections, and successfully defended it in 2017.
In November, 2021 Wanyonyi launched his 2022 Nairobi gubernatorial bid with blessings from the ODM party and Raila Odinga. Wanyonyi is banking on his 15 year leadership stint at Nairobi and says his bid is not ‘mere theory.’ Whownskenya.com got access to some of his promises listed below:
- Integration of ICT as a core enabler of functions and services of Nairobi County Government.
- Fight corruption by enforcing by-laws, legislation and rolling out cashless system.
- Proper planning to ensure adequate water supply, waste disposal and environment conservation.
- Reviewing and harmonising existing levies.
- Streamlining the transport sector.
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