52-year-old church leader joins fight for KCPE certificate

Tuesday October 31 2017


Rev John Rutere Mugo, 52, prepares to sit for the English paper at Urban Integrated Primary School, Embu County, on October 31, 2017 during the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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As the head of his Yahweh Restoration Assembly church, Rev John Rutere Mugo is a financially stable and respected community leader in his Gikuuri village in Embu County.

The counsel of the 52-year-old father of two is frequently sought and revered by the worshippers and the community in general.

But the man who dropped out of school in Standard Six 32 years ago has always struggled to communicate with his congregation or other leaders, owing to his limited education and that is perhaps why he is this week among 67 private candidates sitting the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education at Urban Primary School, in Embu.

Speaking to the Nation after sitting the maths paper, a beaming Rev Rutere was optimistic about his chances of success in the exams and that he would finally achieve his lifelong dream of joining secondary school.

The clergyman says he dropped out of school due to domestic problems after his father separated with his mother and he and his siblings were left under the care of a stepmother who would at times deny him food.

“I was eager to complete the primary level but because of hunger, I couldn’t cope with education.

"I dropped out when the system was about to change from 7-4-2-3 to 8-4-4,” he says, adding that he used to read books used by his children, one of them in Form One at Meru School, a national school, and the other one in Standard Five at Lions Primary School.

When he realised he could cope with most of the subjects and with constant motivation from his wife Lucy, he got the courage to join the adult education class.

He says his wife taught him how to use a computer and to write emails, enabling him to write to his flock although with the helping hand of his wife.

“I had a great thirst for education. My wife, who has a diploma in transport management has always been motivating me.

"I want to complete high school, not to get any employment, but to improve myself,” he says and cites social studies, science and English as his favourite subjects.

“I found maths a bit difficult because of the fraction problems. When you get such tough questions at an advanced age, you find it very challenging,” the Rev Rutere says.

He encourages others who didn’t get a chance to go to school to follow his example.


Embu West sub-county Adult and Continuing Education Officer Grace Marigu says many prominent people — including businessmen, clergy and members of the county assembly — were joining her classes.

Separately, a KCPE candidate is sitting the exam at St Mary’s Mission Hospital in Nakuru after getting injured while celebrating the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s as the October 26 election winner on Monday night.

Samson Kamotho Chege, 14, broke his limbs after he fell off a lorry and was run over by another.

The Lenana Primary School pupil was, however, able to proceed with his exam, sitting his first three papers from his hospital bed.

Chege, who was among Jubilee supporters in Bahati constituency who broke into celebrations soon after Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati announced Mr Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the repeat presidential poll, wrote his examinations in excruciating pain, while vomiting.

His mother, Ms Beatrice Wachera, a widow, learnt about the accident from a caller and rushed to the scene to find her son unconscious.

The candidate said he joined the celebrations because he saw a bright future since he would now enjoy the free secondary education promised by the President.