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My special tribute to ‘Teacher Number One’

Sunday February 16 2020

DANIEL MOI

Daniel Moi was Kenya’s Sportsman Number One. ILLUSTRATION | JOSEPH NYAGAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MWALIMU ANDREW
By MWALIMU ANDREW
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Dear Mzee Moi,

Allow me, on behalf of all teachers in Kenya, particularly primary school teachers, to pass my deepest condolences to your family, but more importantly to thank you for what you meant to the teaching profession, and education sector at large.

As a teacher, I fully understand what you went through. The same way some people are dismissing me is the same way your detractors saw you.

In the fullness of time, they will be shocked when I outmanoeuvre and outlast them like you did. But rather than blow my own trumpet, allow me to say thank you for the many good things you did for us.

Thank you for making us believe that teachers can be something beyond the classroom. You see, some people would like us to believe that only lawyers are meant to be politicians.

It will remain in history books that a teacher — a primary school teacher like me — was Kenya’s longest serving president. Ever.

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Your contribution to education was immense. The many schools you helped build are such a great asset to this country.

NYAYO MILK

I know people were forced to contribute to the construction of Mwisho wa Lami Primary School. I am told that the chief and his assistant harassed everyone to raise money for the construction of WECO (Western College).

We know the provincial administrators of those days grew rich from this money, but unlike today’s leaders, at least they left something small for the purpose the money was meant for.

Enemies of development will say that you favoured girls schools over boys schools, but who has stopped them from building boys schools?

Let me also thank you for the 'Nyayo milk'. I must say that I have drank a lot of milk in life, but the Nyayo milk remains the sweetest ever.

Due to the bad roads in Mwisho wa Lami, we rarely received the milk, but when we did, it was like a holiday for us.

While at school, I always dreamt of performing well in choir or drama festivals so that we could come perform for you at State House Nakuru.

CONSERVATIONIST

We tried our best. But the only time we qualified for the nationals competition, our bus broke down on the way.

Had we arrived in time, I am sure we would have won and performed for you. I am also sure I would have attracted your attention and my life would have changed!

But that did not stop me from continuing to love singing and drama, something I have had to reduce due to my very busy schedule as the de jure deputy of this school, and the de facto head teacher. You know all too well that Bensouda is rarely in school,

I also remember your love for the environment. You hated soil erosion with a passion. And as early as Class 4, I knew what a gabion was.

You also encouraged us to plant two trees for every one we cut. Today’s environmentalists never want us to cut any tree; they just want us to plant and keep planting.

Let’s now say something about your money — the money that had your portrait. That was real money.

STRONG LEADERSHIP

I remember the Sh20 note with your very handsome face and signature. It could buy a lot.

Kenya’s problems started when we changed the portrait on the money. Things got worse when we decided to remove portraits altogether.

I have heard some people say you were a dictator who ruled this country with an iron fist. As a former celebrated class teacher and current successful deputy head teacher, I support your style of management.

I believe Kenyans know no other way of respecting authority. If I had the authority that you had, for example, people like Kuya and Saphire would be in prison.

Today, I hear people calling the president names, some openly abusing him, just like Kuya treats me at school.

Did I hear someone say that you ran a corrupt government? I wonder if we are any better. Based on what I have read, at least corruption during your time was controlled.

Today, corruption is liberalised. In your time, only a few people were permitted to be corrupt. Very few.

SPORTS FANATIC

Onto sports. Despite being Kenya’s Teacher Number One, you were Kenya’s Sportsman Number One. Athletics was athletics in your time.

And football was football — Man U or Arsenal were unheard of. I have been to Nyayo Stadium and I can say that is one great stadium you built.

I hope one day I will enter the majestic Kasarani Stadium that you also gave us. I know some do not consider these great achievements, but 30 years later, we are yet to build another stadium.

And while we have been promised several stadiums ‘in six months’, over six years later, no work has even begun.

Like me, you loved the church, and, like me, you did very many harambees for churches.

BLESSINGS

No wonder you were blessed with many years, among many other blessings. I have no doubt that I, too, will be blessed.

And I will live long. I know of enemies of development who think that I will not go further than where I am, but so did people think of you.

Go in peace Mzee Moi, See you on the other side when I will be called to join you

Your faithfully,

Mwalimu Andrew, Esquire. EGH, EBS, GHC, CRE, Kisw, B. Ed, Arts

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