Looking forward to retirement after 41 years as a police officer

Sunday March 27 2016

Rose Muchuma, a police officer who has served this country diligently for 41 years and will be retiring next month. PHOTO | COURTESY

Rose Muchuma, a police officer who has served this country diligently for 41 years and will be retiring next month. PHOTO | COURTESY  

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Q: Who is Rose Muchuma?

I am a mother of four grown up children, two sons and two daughters, and a police officer who has served this country diligently for 41 years and will be retiring next month.

I love Jesus as my personal saviour.

What’s it like being a female police woman?

It has been a great experience. If you are serious and responsible, fellow officers will respect you. When I was in positions where male officers were my juniors, they obeyed me because I earned respect through hard work.

Did you always want to be an officer?

Growing up, I admired women who were in uniform and even had a picture of a female police officer that I cut out of a newspaper.

When did you join the service?

I started serving in February 1975 when I was posted to Kisii as a constable. I have since served in various stations and will leave having attained the position of County Security Coordinating Commander in Kericho as a Senior Superintendent of Police.

Describe a day in your life

My routine changed as I climbed the ladder. However, I have always had to wake up at 4 am and go to bed after 10 pm. As a police boss, my days were occupied by meetings. However, there are no timelines for officers, they must be ready for anything every time.

In what positions have you served?

I served in the traffic department, in the crime branch and in 2000 I was appointed Officer Commanding Station (OCS) after serving as deputy for almost five years. I rose gradually through the ranks.

How has it been serving under all the four presidents of Kenya?

I enjoyed but my best years were  under President Mwai Kibaki. It was after he took over power in 2002 that the salaries of police officers were improved. President Kenyatta has also done well by equipping the service.

Which is your highest moment?

In 2008 when I was honoured by President Kibaki with the award of the order of the Head of State Commendation (HSC). I am proud of that achievement as it showed that my hard work had been recognised.

What was the most difficult decision you ever made in your career?

When I was in Garissa in 1979, I was recommended for promotion to the rank of corporal. By then, my third child was only nine months old yet I was required to travel to Kiganjo for promotion training and I had to leave my children with my late husband Duncan Muchuma.

Has any of your children taken after you?

Yes, my third child, Bilha Andaje, 36. She joined in 2002 and is now a corporal in Thika.

What was the worst call you ever had to respond to?

Honestly, it is difficult to decide which of the many distress calls I responded to was the hardest because, as an officer, I dealt with many incidents of accidents and murder.

If you weren’t a police officer what would you be?

I would have been a secretary. I dropped my secretarial course in Nairobi when I got a chance to join the National Youth Service (NYS) in 1974.

Do you have off days?

Police work is a 24-hour seven-day job. When I held junior positions we had shifts; it was not uncommon to be recalled to respond to emergencies.

Did your family worry about you when you were on the job?

Yes, there were many times when I had to reassure my family that I was okay. In 1976, for instance, my husband and I were transferred to the Garissa Police Division in North Eastern Province which at the time was facing a lot of problems from the Shifta militia. It brought great anxiety to my family.

Dream holiday destination?

I have always enjoyed travelling to visit my relatives and my children.

What is your pastime?

I can be found at home cooking  traditional foods. I watch television and read the Bible because it inspires me.

What was your lowest point ?

On December 26, 1995, my beloved husband passed away after a short battle with kidney disease. We had done everything we could to save his life and got him to undergo dialysis for six months. Our commissioner at the time even offered financial assistance for a kidney transplant, but we could not find a donor and he passed on. 

What next for you?

I intend to go home and take care of my grandchildren and get to know my relatives whom I have not spent much time with. I will also tend to my small sugarcane and maize farm in Bungoma. I am still strong and I have a lot on mind as long as it will not involve waking up early.