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What it takes to be the greatest of all clubs

Njuguna Macharia receives the club of the year award from Dr. Andy Kirkland, an expert in endurance sports and a triathlon coach at the University of Stirling, Scotland, while Paul Ochieng, Dean of Students, looks on.

The Debate Society sent a team of 15 people, 5 teams and 5 judges, to represent the University at the Pan-African University Debate Championships 2019 held on 8th-16th December 2019 in Kumasi, Ghana at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

The five teams joined the over 100 teams from over 24 countries in a historic Pan African Universities Debate Championship. The leading team was composed of 2 speakers, Njuguna Macharia and Jabez Magomere, who were ranked second overall, and became the first team from East and Central Africa to rank in the top 3 positions.

Other team members, Wairimu Manyara and Tracy Nduta reached the quarter finals where they were eliminated after a tough run. In the judges’ category, Michelle Wanyang achieved the 6TH place ranking out of over 90 judges. We celebrate them as they share their story.

Perfection of a skill

“Anyone can debate,” grins Macharia, the Debate Club Chairman, and fourth-year law student at Strathmore Law School.  “However,” he says, “It is a skill you perfect with varying audiences who create different experiences.” Reflecting on his journey, the firstborn reveals that his father taught him to ‘argue with grace’. The Economist magazine diehard fan divulges that his trump card to being informed is reading; he hints that to be able to debate effectively, one needs to know what is happening around the world.

Macharia’s zeal for debating is mirrored by Wairimu Manyara, a third-year student at SLS. In 2019, she won the Zanzibar Open Debate Tournament held in September 2019 at the State University.  For her, being a member of the debate club has offered her a platform to unwind from the daily routine of being a student. She added that travelling with the club beyond the Kenyan border too is exciting.  She still reminisces her first trip with the club to Jinja, Uganda.

Greatest among clubs

Having contributed to the Debate Club clinching the 2019 Club of the Year Award as well as the Best Ambassadors of the School Award, Macharia’a greatest desire is to meet Fanele Mashwama from Swaziland. Mashwama is the 2016 World Debating Champion as well as the First Black President of the Harvard College Debate Union.  In addition, having Strathmore University debate club be part of the world champions would cement his journey at the university.  In his closing remarks he said, “Debaters do not retire. There are more losses than wins; however, you always want to be at your best.”


This article was written by Annete Karanja. 

If you have a story, kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu