Timothy Wanyonyi’s route to the top was by a long and winding path. He repeated classes several times not because he had performed poorly but because he wanted to pave the way for his older siblings to complete school.
After his ‘A’-levels, he was admitted to the University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of Arts programme but he declined and travelled to India, where he studied Law. “Law is the only thing I wanted to study at university, nothing else. I was determined to achieve what my heart wanted,” says the Westlands MP and former Councillor of the now-defunct Nairobi City Council.
At primary level, he had to step out of school for two years so that his older siblings could complete school. He joined Form One in 1979, but ended up sitting his ‘O’-levels in 1983, instead of 1982. And even though he passed very well, he was forced to go back to form three in 1984, so that his two sisters could also attend school.
“My father told me that I could wait because I was a man…women grow faster and my sisters couldn’t wait,” he says. He did his ‘O’-levels once again in 1985, but he was second-time lucky, as his brother, Moses Wetang’ula, the Senator from Bungoma, had started working and paid for his ‘A’-level education at Nairobi School. Tim, as he is fondly known, encountered another headwind soon after he completed his form six.
He found himself unable to study Law at the UoN. “My path to the Bar as an advocate of the High Court was long, but it was worth the wait,” said the MP, who is a great fan of football and rugby. Tim developed an interest in politics late in life; in 2007, when he was recruited to work for candidate Raila Odinga as one of the campaigners. It is from there that he learnt lessons that eventually propelled him into politics.
In the House, Tim has been vocal on issues concerning people living with disabilities. He has pushed amendments to the law to raise the retirement age for people living with disabilities to 65, among other legislative initiatives.
“People living with disabilities are seriously disadvantaged; they take time to adjust to their unique conditions and ordinarily start working after the age of 30 – it is unfair to make them retire at 60,” he says. Within his Westlands Constituency, he