Policeman trades his gun for chalk to quench pupils’ thirst

Tuesday September 10 2019
Jairus Mulumia

Constable Jairus Mulumia, a police officer based in Forole at the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, teaches Mathematics to Grade Five pupils at Forole Primary School in Marsabit County. PHOTO | POOL | NMG


When teachers at a local school in conflict-prone Forole town on the Kenya-Ethiopia border failed to show up due to insecurity, a police officer decided to switch from a rifle to chalk.

Police Constable Jairus Mulumia had been posted to Forole Primary School to protect the institution.

However, while on his routine duties at the institution last week, he noted that some teachers were missing, owing to insecurity. Eleven people had earlier been killed by suspected Ethiopian militia.


Constable Mulumia noticed that Grade Five pupils were idle and decided to act — he went to the class to teach mathematics.

A photo of the police officer in his combat uniform solving Math problems on the board went viral on social media on Monday night.


Pupils are seen keenly following the lesson. Interestingly, only girls were in class the day the photo was taken.

Mr Mulumia, who is also a trained teacher, is reluctant to comment about the incident, noting that he is not authorised to speak to the media.

When contacted by the Nation, Mr Mulumia said his position does not permit him to speak to journalists unless granted a go ahead by his bosses.

He, however, said he is unaware that his photo has gone viral. “It is something that just happened spontaneously. I did not even know my photo was trending online because the people who took it only said they were documenting about education in the region. Once I have authorisation from my bosses, I will be able to give you further details,’’ Constable Mulumia said.


Although police officers are usually demonised as corrupt and trigger-happy, the soft-spoken Mulumia has been receiving accolades from Kenyans and even his bosses, who say the move is a reflection of the ongoing police reforms.

“Our job is to give service to the people and we are very proud and happy when we see our officers going out of their way to serve humanity,” Eastern Regional Police Commander Eunice Kihiko told the Nation.

Marsabit Police Commander Steve Oloo commended the officer for using his professional training to fill the gap left by teachers.

“We have many police officers who are vastly experienced in various areas. The incident also shows that the officers are providing enough security in the area, even to pupils and teachers,” said Mr Oloo.

PC Mulumia lives up to the adage that once a teacher always a teacher. The Nation has since learnt that this was not his first time teaching at the school.


He has been taking up lessons where teachers fail to report to duty to ensure that pupils do not miss out on their education.

Mr Mulumia spends his free time teaching Mathematics to Grade Five pupils at the school.

Forole town has been hit by a wave of attacks by militia from Ethiopia. More than 20 residents were killed following the May 11 and August 24 attacks.

Over 120 children have also quit school and the boarding section closed over fears of more attacks.

Mr Oloo, however, insists the area is secure. “The pupils showed up in class because they felt safe with the presence of our officers so we do not understand why the teachers don’t come to work,” the police boss said.