By PATRICK KIMANZI
When Rongai District was carved out of Nakuru in 2009, the Ministry of Education posted me there to be the first District Education Officer.
Upon reporting for duty, I found that the residents had settled for Kambi ya Moto, a small sleepy shopping center as the District Headquarters.
In fact my first fleeting experience of a fully paid stay at Sai Rock, a 5 Star hotel at the Coast was courtesy of Mzee Moi.
JUSTUS MUTAI MUSYOKA (KYETHO)
There were no government offices to host me. I was forced to rent an office space at the shopping centre.
Time was not on my side. The residents were excited with the new district status and the social- economic goodies it promised.
MOURNING: Mr. Justus Mutai Musyoka-The first District Education Officer for Rongai District is a Director in the Ministry of Education © MPPRESS/PATRICK KIMANZI
As more government officials were deployed to take charge of the district affairs, residents were eager to meet them and be assured of service delivery. But for my case, I had an immediate challenge to tackle.
I didn’t have a hall where I could meet teachers and education stakeholders within my jurisdiction. The sorounding schools were needy in terms of infrastructure. I was stuck.
But as luck would have it, the Kabarak community comprising of Kabarak University, Moi Highschool Kabarak and Moi Kabarak Primary school were just metres away from the new district headquarters.
Kabarak therefore remained realistically the only place I could really hold public participation meetings with my stakeholders.
Kabarak Was Private!
But there was another challenge ; Kabarak was a private entity, and it’s proprietor was none other than the Second President of the Republic of Kenya.
The Kabarak Call
So as I set out on the short distance to Kabarak to pay a courtesy call to the Headteacher and Principal of Moi Primary School – Kabarak and Kabarak High School respectively, one thing was clear in my mind; how my office could gain access to the Kabarak facilities for meetings.
At Moi Primary school Kabarak, I was warmly welcomed by the then Head teacher Mr. Julius Menjo.
A Willing Mr. Menjo
After a short exchange of pleasantries, I shared my predicament with him, and to my utter surprise, far beyond my expectations, Mr Menjo was willing to facilitate. He said;
” I am more than willing to facilitate and have the gates of Kabarak opened for your official endevours — as long as your endeavors would go towards benefitting the community” said Mr. Menjo.
In short, the doors Kabarak University we’re opened for my office including permission to hold meetings, courtesy of Mr Mr Menjo connections and influence.
MENTOR: Late former President Arap Moi mentored Basic Education Director Justus Mutai Musyoka alias Kyetho during his career at Rongai © PHOTO/CD FILES/PATRICK KIMANZI
The University auditorium was also at my behest.
Moi Loved Education
What I came to learn about Moi was that his passion for education was not a mere political pretence.
During the few forums I shared with him during tour of duty in Rongai, Moi would lament about deteriorating quality of education in the country and put me to task; to find out what the Ministry was doing about it.
He would fret that the Ministry no longer carried out school inspections to keep teachers on their toes.
He lamented that access to education was barricaded by existence of few schools which were located far from childrens’ reach.
Henry Kiplagat the Herbinger
What surprised me about Kabarak was that whenever a service was required from the education office, there would be no formal request.
Instead, I would be booked for an appointment at a hotel in Nakuru town where the business would be transacted.
It was mostly in evenings and the herbinger was always none other than Henry Kiplagat, then the Principal of Kabarak High School.
Moi Paid My Flight to Sai Rock, Msa
For the three years I worked in Rongai I was catered return tickets and accommodations at Sai Rock
Moi was kind and generous:
A fully paid return air ticket to Mombasa and a fully paid stay at Sairock Beach Hotel for a week!
In fact my first fleeting experience of a fully paid stay at a 5 Star hotel at the Coast was courtesy of Moi.
Rest in Peace Mzee Moi.
No man is perfect and you were not an an exception.
– JUSTUS MUTAI MUSYOKA (KYETHO)