Monday, 12 July 2021

African Experiences of Second World War: The Story of Isaya arap Mogin from Chebiemit, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya


Paul Kipchumba

October 2008

"By early 1940s we were quite contented as part of the colonial administration. There were no expectations for another system of administration to be run by the Africans, although the colonial administration at Tambach had demonstrated a systematic attempt at transferring power to Africans.

When the Second World War broke out it took a while before we were directly involved. Mobilization had been happening in other regions amenable to the colonial administration. The mobilization was meant to save the empire from invasion and brutality of the Germans, Italians, and Japanese. My age-set generation were actively mobilized, and we liked it. We were fighting on behalf of the King. We were a reasonable number of young men.

After recruitment we were taken to Nanyuki for training and orientation. I was put in the transport corps.

From Nanyuki base we crossed to Ethiopia through Moyale. We did not get any fighting there. We crossed to Sudan then to Libya where we fought and defeated the Germans. Then we took a warship at Alexandria in Egypt to the Indian Ocean where we crossed Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and through Calcutta we entered Burma (Myanmar), where we fought and defeated the Japanese using swords and panga. The war ended while we were in Burma. Then we were taken to Singapore, where in 1946 we boarded a plane to Nairobi. Then we were discharged with a little cash compensation. Many of my colleagues died and their bodies have not been repatriated."

Terming Social Media Army Idlers is a Worrying Manifestation of Backwardness in Africa


Paul Kipchumba

Thursday 30 May 2019

From late last year I have witnessed a very challenging trend in the discourse in the social media where some proponents hammer it home that their citizens who are active online are the idle educated lot. In my view, they should be commended for embracing technology in a society where access to Internet is both problematic and a non-issue.

If our society shields duty bearers from doing the work in which they are paid and focus blame on private citizens who are voluntarily engaging in progressive discourse to advance the socio-economic space in their countries, then the society is very sick!

We should encourage our residents to move online to reduce the cost of doing business, ask them to do online business, and even shift all administrative functions including policing online.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industrialization 4.0) that is sweeping the world and is fundamentally technological, supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI), has a tendency to widen global socio-economic inequality. And over time the "social media idlers" will recreate another socio-economic inequality in our society because they are the only active citizens. The rest who pin hopes on the so-called "practical reality" are actually the most dormant and useless lot in Information Age. They hide a lot of deficiencies like computer or letter illiteracy by invoking "practice".

However, I understand that we need to industrialize and, for this matter, we need to make strategic industrialization choices: (1) physical industrialization, or (2) technological industrialization. Both require very advanced leadership and management. To remove illiteracy and ignorance among our people, then eliminate idleness, then reach them middle income status is an arduous task which will last through many generations.

Therefore, those who are not active in the social media are in the past already. Those who are active in the social media should keep advancing by embracing cutting edge technologies and rigorous learning. The difference between the two groups will be apparent over time.

The Law of Success in Life


Paul Kipchumba

(Submitted for Delivery on the Occasion of Sahara Africa Elimu Networks forum at Kahawa, Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday 20 April 2017)

I do not know what it means to succeed or to be successful in life. At least up now I am very certain that I still have a long way to go. But since I have been asked to make a presentation on this, I would like to base all the discussion on the experiences of my life.

First, I observed that most of our people live very simple lives when they are poor, but live very complex lives when they make money. A friend moved out of a modest estate in Nairobi to a better place because he became a lecturer in the university. He gave the excuse that he was moving out because his students were also living with him and could witness him waking up in the estate every morning. He disliked the fact that he could be of the same economic status with his students. “It is living in denial, isn’t it? Where on earth won’t you find students who are far much better than yourself?” I said. Equally, I observed that most of my friends are conscious of how they dress, where they eat, where they drink. These mannerisms are a complete distraction to a lasting success.

Just as the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy observed in “On Labour and Luxury” that simplicity leads to grandeur, the American transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau in Walden Chapter 2 “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” similarly observed that simplicity of life but elevation of purpose is the game-changer in human affairs. This is where you find key philosophers, influential leaders in the world. He further said that a man is rich in proportion to the number of things that he can let alone. His firm belief that you can be rich without any damage to your poverty is very interesting. This refers to your choice towards certain ends, not really into wealth creation, such that those who may have amassed wealth should not think that they are ahead. According to him the brutes (uncivilized people) have beaten the civilized in their life of simplicity.

However, I was interested in the meaning of simplicity and how to sustain it. What is simplicity? Material lack is quite often interpreted to mean simplicity, that is modesty means ensure that you live a rather limited life, devoid of luxury. A hermit or an ascetic can sustain a life with limited material means. It is a rather challenging postulate. I would observe that simplicity is a commitment to certain ends and the means that can deliver them. This is quite often achieved by discipline and self-control. For instance, if you are a nun or a priest you have got to be disciplined towards sexual desires. If you want to succeed in business you have got to save and innovate with discipline. If you want to be a general in the army, you should be able to keep secrets. Laozi in “Daodejing” observes the same: “Hence the sage is able (in the same way) to accomplish his great achievements. It is through his not making himself great that he can accomplish them.” Therefore, simplicity is that sense of commitment that can be sustained by its means. It is not necessarily wearing tatters or eating one meal a day. But you will agree with me that sensual pleasures and material indulgence are not often compatible with the ideals of a simple life. However, most of our people keep to a simple life when they do not have but overindulge when they get – this is not simplicity of life and elevation of purpose, it is simplicity of life with no purpose.

In “Of the Duty of Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau I was impressed by the quotation “The best thing that a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavour to carry out those schemes that he entertained when he was poor”. I have interpreted it literally and found it in accord with my view that way. I have had some wonderful ideas when growing up. However, it is almost an impossible feat to implement them now because more money comes with more luxury-trappings. Sometimes it is just hard to settle in a poor environment if you have money in your pocket. But it does not mean that you live less if you have little. In fact you can live a more organized life with little than with more depending on your capacity to organize yourself. I find it a nobler objective to transform the world in the way I used to think when young, poor. That to me translates to “simplicity of life but elevation of purpose” paradigm.

In addition, I should say that the owners of Khetia Supermarket chain in Western Kenya are Asian brothers who have demonstrated consistency of business acumen. They have been in operation over 30 years as of early 2013. I visited two of their stores in Bungoma and Kitale, successively between 2009 and 2012. I had an opportunity too to meet one of the brothers in Parklands in Nairobi early 2013 over a drink. He was really frank narrating to me of their expansion to Australia and Tanzania and how they managed to have one of the largest go-downs in Kenya in Kitale before our discussion entered into morals of trade. I asked him why Kenyans haven’t demonstrated that level of industry. He said, “Ni rahisi sana! Ukiwacha kufuata wanawake, kukunywa pombe ovyo ovyo na kucheza kamari utaendelea kwa biashara.” He replied in Swahili that success in business comes about if you avoid pleasures that include chasing after women/ prostitutes, overindulgence in alcoholic drinking or engagement in gambling.

I reminded him that even Africans who do not indulge in such pleasures have not demonstrated industry. Of course, our cultures also stand in the way of our work edict. For instance, a friend asked me why I should labour too much! “You just need a small job and a cow so that your children can get milk!” he said. Also, our level of concentration is compromised by our search for quick, simple recognition. We do not aim at competing with the rest of the world. An Asian can sit in his stall for a long period of time, some from 6 a.m. to past midnight without complaining. There is an element of heightened consistency, hard work and commitment. There is no self-importance, just as they could manage to come from their sub-continent to Africa. Although for some of them there are underhand tactics that are exploitative, I tend to think that their success hinges on business values, especially shrewdness. Anyway, I was going to say that we need to tell our generation that most businesses as they stand, demonstrate a long-term effort, more than 30 years for most of them.

Thoreau in Walden observed this by saying that the greatest education that young people get from university education is the interaction they get from highly cultivated members of the school community. Sometime back a friend asked me why some teachers cannot write their experiences of their teaching trade even after ten years of service. Why is it that some teachers cannot raise their eye-brows after producing Ds (poor results) consistently? Even some teaching in the university cannot publish even if by publishing their careers are secured. A university graduate gets first class honours in a certain field, they go into the job market, but after five years they cannot remember what they were taught, not even cite some of the prominent references in the field! Some even change careers several times in their lifetimes, failing to get deserved recognition in any. Our priorities become misplaced at some point in our growing up. More important, we lack consistency in our dealings.

In May 2011 in Eldoret, Kenya, I asked a friend the late Ambassador Benjamin Edgar Kipkorir, “Why is it that your approach to things is so mechanical?”

“You ask why! Look, at your age I had achieved more than you have done. I had a wife and had finished schooling. I had a piece of land too!” he replied.

“Doesn’t it mean that even if you took off very well, you have lost all the justifications why you should not rank among the wealthiest or among the greatly revered intellectual sprawls?” I asked.

It is one thing to believe that you are better off than others. It is equally another thing altogether to be better off than them. I believe most people fall in the former. There is nothing exceptional about them. If they go to school, they don’t labour in intellectual rigour backed up by an element of sacrifice and ranking among the best globally. If they go into business they would not rank among the list of global wealthy their entire lives—they end up struggling to justify how they have won the economic battle by buying small cars or big ones and owning big houses, buying alcoholic drinks and growing big tummies. I haven’t seen anything much in that kind of life. At least for me, if you mean business you mean it. If you want to shoot, shoot. Do not keep saying ‘I will shoot’ or ‘I was the first one to attempt to shoot’.

Then I observed before the late Ambassador Benjamin Edgar Kipkorir that a successful life is determined by how it ends, not how it starts, because if you were the last one to shoot, possibly you could be the one who killed it. And that is all about consistency.

In conclusion, in the recent past I began by writing my diary entitle “Living a Sustainable Vision” to cover the period between 2010 and 2049 in 8 volumes of 5-year duration each. I began by looking at past heroic personages such as the Greek philosopher Socrates (469-399 BC); the military general Alexander the Great (356-323 BC); spiritual figures such as Jesus Christ of the Christian Religion, Prophet Mohammed of the Islamic Religion, the Chinese Confucius of Confucianism, Laozi of Daoism, the Indian Gautama Buddha of Buddhism; political figures such as the Russian Vladimir Lenin, the British Winston Churchill, South African Nelson Mandela; industrialists such as the American John Rockefeller, Bill Gates; inventor-scholars such as the British Isaac Newton, the American Albert Einstein; Philanthropists such as Henry Durant the founder of the Committee of Red Cross, among others. I discovered from them that there are two very important traits that make a successful life: (1) simplicity, and (2) consistency.


Modern Life is a Complex and Massive Paperwork


Paul Kipchumba


I was shocked by the audacity of one of the discussants in the social media who said that only two pages of a write-up is enough to execute a major project and move forward. I agreed with him in the sense that the two pages should be just the summary of the written work.

I know it’s difficult to reconcile that what we call hard work is drudgery of details. And it makes a whole difference between individuals, organizations and nations. Let’s assume that all great ideas are a result of research and incremental observations. It should not be challenging to trace the paperwork from first discovery to present state. For instance, the drilling of the first oil well (Drake Well) in Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1859 to the development of the modern complex refinery; the invention of the gun powder in China nearly 1000 years ago to the development of the hydrogen bomb and complex nuclear reactors the AP1000; or the experiment of Turing machines that could fool a human being in the 1950s to today’s widespread use of Artificial Intelligence.

Nearly all practical accomplishments are begun with an idea, then research, then a plan. The research and planning components are the most detailed aspects of it. Even in the manufacture of a cup for drinking water, there is a lot of combination of all sorts of paperwork from material science to fine art. I followed the development of Soviet-Ukrainian abandoned hull of an aircraft carrier Varyag that was bought and modernized by China into a ski-jump aircraft carrier Liaoning. The hull was accompanied by 40 tones of design paper that cost Chinese academics and engineers about 3 years to study. A catapult aircraft carrier like the US’ Nimitz or Ford classes would be even a more complex paperwork.

That is just in the realm of science and technology that is usually prompted by a myriad of scientific papers. Academics and writers excel one another not only by quality of paperwork but also quantity. This category of paperwork practitioners rank foremost on the complexity of their paperwork. Paperwork not only shows the extent of their commitment to their careers but is also a manifestation of the attitude of the individuals and their organizations. Individuals and organizations with limited paperwork are the less advanced and lowly ranked and should not be taken seriously. Even leaders with less paperwork have not caused any fundamental socio-political reforms in human history. Paperwork is not necessarily published materials. They can be organization’s reports, speeches, letters, counsels, among others.

This challenge becomes even more glaring with states, businesses, and other organizations. Organizations and states influence public opinion through paperwork. There is virtually no state without think tanks that churn out endless policy and strategy proposals. There is no competitive business without a dedicated research and development wing, which is much more superior to an average university.

Therefore, to move forward we must pay attention to paperwork with practical details. Even to modernize agriculture alone there should be dedicated paperwork on soil science, technology, markets, management, et cetera.

Pursuit of Idealism in Africa


Paul Kipchumba

June 2019

In a sense I should apologize for using myself as an example for an experiment on African progress. I grew up with a dilemma of pursuing either internal (personal) or external (societal and peer) goals. In nearly all instances I elected to take my course.

From the first day I took this case, I began to be both vigilant and sensitive about happenings around me. A lady friend said that I was as sensitive as a teenage girl. A male friend said that I was too overcautious to succeed in anything.

The worry of the average person in Africa has been not to be ignored, trampled upon and forgotten. The worry of the smart person has been the balance between personal security and personal empowerment.

In the short period I have had an intense social interactions in Kenya, my worry has been a possibility of succumbing to societal humiliation. There has been registered tendency towards tampering with one’s self-esteem, leading to either alcoholism, temperamental arrogance, or miscalculations.

The crises in my coming to terms with what sets young people back was in 2007 when I decided to work with the late B E Kipkorir whom his Marakwet elite termed mean. When I persisted in my interest in his company I was termed confused. The second encounter was in 2009 when I founded Infomercial Researchers where my peers were cynical about my capability to run a business. The third case was in 2011 when somebody used my phone number to call me, my yahoo e-mail address was hacked, and a detractor presented a printed statement of my bank account.

In 2012 when I founded a joint Pokot-Marakwet settlement in the Kerio Valley I was termed mad and insane for opting to live in the jungle. I was excommunicated from the village by a clique. They initiated and funded a series of village meetings with an intention to tarnish my name and reputation. Classic cases are orchestrated against brilliant individuals to frustrate them. In 2016 I witnessed a local unravelling of elite gang-up against me when a friend said that if I did not toe the line I would end up like a friend that financial blockade was extended against because he presented a real threat to the status quo.

While I have made very many mistakes that I am proud of because they have given me an opportunity for learning, my experiences serve to highlight some of the challenges that independent minded people face in Africa. If they are not entrapped and entangled in local social processes such that they face career precariousness; they are frustrated at the job level through unnecessary transfers, demotions or even unlawful or morally wrong suspensions. Some are frustrated to death. Smart guys are sensitive to humiliation because they rarely live it simple.

Nearly every young person who grows up realizes the need to make some contribution towards the advancement of their societies. But this quest easily degenerates into hopelessness and a raw deal. It does not take long before they feel cheated and shortchanged. I was told that I spent a lot of my time helping other people, not helping myself, or that “Paul, all those guys you have assisted, when they see you they pity you”. I realized that the language that our people understand best is the language of competition and inequality. But this is equally troubling because a dumb person, even if supported, cannot compete with a determined smart person.

At the end of 2011 I decided to put aside some societal pretensions and play a long ball. I put a sketch of my infamous break from fundraisings for local relevance into action by making a case for founding a trust. I mooted Kipchumba Foundation. At the beginning such programs like running seminars from 2012 seemed very silly and naive because some other guys laughed at me by asking “how much do you earn by organizing a seminar?” I replied, in fact, I spent more money to realize them.

The idea of exiting Kenya through a scholarship did not make sense to me at that time, nor was it important because every country in my kind of quests matters and that Kenya is my country. Usually, local detractors use exit of dissidents to shut them out completely. There has never been a systematic attempt at maintaining both local and international influences to safeguard local gains. Smart individuals once they leave their countries rarely maintain credible tributaries to safeguard their work or build a framework for an effective local comeback. The lack of the latter is what has made smarter individuals easy to manage in Africa, if they manage to survive all considered cases of assassination. There has not been an equal attempt by smart people to act evil. The fact that it is a smart person who has to fear for their lives in Africa seems absurd. In my view, it should be the other way round.

I realized that my problems were caused by those around me. I decided to expand my network tremendously to counterbalance them. Every time I took note of the attitude, behaviour and actions of those around me and developed a counter mechanism without betraying my disposition.

Because the life of a graduate is put at the disposal of an illiterate boss who is neither the parent nor the guardian; because community debt of gratitude and control value supersedes personal aspirations; because those who have ideas have no instruments of power or the freewill to execute their ideas; I realized that there was need for social transitioning by young people.

In the run up to the postponed June 2019 conference that I was organizing for the Association of Elgeyo Marakwet Professionals, one of the participants confided in me that an informal memo was passed round to the employees of the County Government of Elgeyo Marakwet asking them not to attend the forum or to give the organizers the rates for conducting the conference at the chosen venue because the status quo forces felt that “the professionals were coming up too fast!” As much as the local economies need talent and investments to progress, in reality they do not need them nor are they ready for them. This scenario is very challenging for effecting the balance between patriotism and personal selfishness.

I witnessed the same trend in my interactions among the young people, especially in the social media, where they come up with an idea but it does not take long before they abandon it altogether without trying. But one very serious trend in my observations is that most of the young people face both career and progress precariousness because life is not lived within a plan but as a framework for chancing economic opportunity which, in most cases, has no guarantee of success because the external environment has a lot of bearing on individual will to prevail.

If human life, despite its normal challenges, is lived accumulatively then a human work-life of 30 years should make a lot of difference in bestowing lessons to the succeeding generations. In most part, I have not seen this happening because the most important space for progress is controlled by the less progressive. Therefore, I realized that both action and inaction carry the same risks at the individual level in Africa.

Every Story of the World Begins Somewhere


Remarks to the School Community, Tunyo Primary School, Arror Ward, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya

Saturday 13 April 2019

Paul Kipchumba

The Principal,



School alumni,

Guests and friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am gratified to speak to the community of Tunyo Primary School.

When I was asked to make these remarks I felt like I was speaking to the community of my former primary school that, in my view, faces the same challenges as Tunyo Primary School. 

I sat for my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) at Chechan Primary School in 1996 and was lucky to subsequently join St. Patrick’s High School-Iten then the University of Nairobi, where I majored in literature in English.

I am aware that the performance of this great school has been fluctuating and there is an urgent need by the school community to put the school into a competitive path of excellent performance.  I am most happy to be associated with this noble goal.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to speak about the story of the world as beginning from somewhere. Every part of the world faces certain challenges that compromise with their ability to realize their aspirations. For instance, some nations face poverty, civil wars, environmental disasters, infectious diseases, while others even face serious elements of progress confusion. Therefore, the challenges faced by Tunyo Primary School can be surmounted by good will, thought and commitment. Thus, we should ask ourselves, why can’t Tunyo Primary School be the best performing school in Kenya? Why not?

Tunyo Primary School can awaken the history of humanity because every story of the world begins somewhere, and Tunyo Primary School is somewhere. In the coming years I am hopeful that I will hear some of the stories of the world emanating from Tunyo Primary School.

The school community can draw a strategic vision for the school community. Most primary schools that I have visited in Kenya lack written strategic visions. I consider this one of such challenges that we face as a society both at individual and institutional levels. I strongly advocate for a school community with a concrete strategic vision that children and adults alike will be reciting as they keep the struggle for good performance going.

While academic performance is important towards the standing of the school, I equally encourage all-round education that focuses on talent search in art, music and sport. I know that it’s daunting at the beginning; however, once the momentum is sustained through a step-wise development that builds up and out from internal resources it is going to be possible. Success is not dictated by buildings or other material provisions but by the commitment and determination of the stakeholders. It takes only one person to change the world; it equally takes the stakeholders of Tunyo Primary School to produce excellent performance.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As a school community we should emphasize the economic empowerment of the stakeholders so that they will be in a position to participate in school development. This will entail the school equipping the library with computers, Internet, printing and other services for both internal and community-wide use, and also organizing occasional education outreach programs and public lectures. Learning institutions that make history make them because they support their school communities. Our schools should be developed in a way that is intended to support different aspects of our development as their core responsibility.

I am confident that Tunyo Primary School will be built in a way that is intended to support the local community then the local community will support the school, hence good performance will be realized. Therefore, Tunyo Primary School should be the reference point for other school communities and for the world at large.

Thank you very much.

I wish you all the best.

I Will Be the Future of the Kerio Valley


Remarks delivered to students at Queen of Peace Day Secondary School, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya

Friday 21 June 2019

Paul Kipchumba

The Chinese educator Confucius (551-479 BC) who introduced education to students from humble backgrounds the first time in China in his work The Analects (Book 2, Chapter 17) said that “to know that you know what you know, to know that you do not know what you do not know, that is true knowledge (知之为知之,不知为不知,是知也)”. This afternoon I am about to tell you what I know.

In October 2000 Hon. Neddy Jeruto Kiptoo who was a student at Kerio Valley Secondary School but now a member of the County Assembly of Elgeyo Marakwet mailed to me at St. Patrick’s High School-Iten a melody type examination wishes card on the occasion of my preparation for my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations (KCSE) in November the same year. In June 2001 after high school I met with her. She confided in me that she had sacrificed her pocket money because she thought that I had broken a record by sitting through high school life without a girlfriend. And according to her that was all that mattered for me to pass my examinations then be admitted at the University of Nairobi.

However, I am most proud as one of the founder teachers of this great high school. In October 2004 I got an opportunity to teach Swahili and English at this school when it was still located at the Chesongoch Primary School workshop. I had come home because of university lecturers’ strike that paralyzed learning in the university. In the subsequent off session between January and April 2005 I came back to continue teaching.

I grew up in this region and I know virtually everywhere around this school. I used to look after livestock around here. My primary school (Chechan) is also a stone’s throw away. I was in primary (1989-1996) and high school (1997-2000) at the height of the violent cattle rustling activities of the 1990s. Despite that I passed all my examinations and was lucky to be admitted to the university.

This school was founded as a way of promoting peaceful coexistence between the warring Pokot and Marakwet communities in the Kerio Valley. I taught both Pokot and Marakwet students. And I hope the same spirit is still relived. I have equally relived it when in 2012 I founded a joint Pokot-Marakwet settlement at Chepchoren at the Kerio River. It is about 11 killometres from here, with its road branching off the main Kerio Valley Road about 3 kilometres from this school. I am certain that most of you know that. It was closed in 2016 when the recent violent cattle rustling activities recurred. Operations will resume once calm returns. This is my own story of growing up here in the Kerio Valley. In my case, cattle rustling nuisance became an opportunity and motivation for me to work harder in my studies.

Amid those challenges I devoted most of my time into study; I remember saying to a friend those days that if there will be ten great people on earth at the close of 2049 I shall be one of them; if there will be only one great person then that person shall be me. That level of self-belief is all that is required to pass your examinations, join the university and then conquer the world.

But mentorship plays a great role in the life and growth of every student. That is why I am here this afternoon. My great mentor was the late Amb. (Dr) B E Kipkorir. In May 2011 we visited this school on the occasion of promoting his two books The Marakwet of Kenya: A Preliminary Study (1973, Kenya Literature Bureau; 2008, East African Education Publishers, co-authored with F. Welbourn), and Descent from Cherang’any Hills: Memoirs of a Reluctant Academic (2009, Moran Publishers) which I assisted greatly in researching and publishing, and I have been acknowledged. Copies of the two books must be in your library. In his company I managed to read all what he had written in his lifetime and also a greater percentage of great books in his study in his office or at his home at Kipkundul (Kapcherop). One of his seminal works Kerio Valley Past, Present and Future (1983, Institute of African Studies, University of Nairobi, co-edited with J. W. Ssenyonga and R. Soper) inspired me. Then I said to Kipkorir that “I would like to be the future of the Kerio Valley”.

He encouraged me.

When a friend asked me recently what did Kipkorir tell me, I replied her that he pleaded with me to remember to be the future of the Kerio Valley. Right now, I am growing older, though I plan to retire in 2049, 30 years later. I beseech you students to take the baton from me and be the future of the Kerio Valley. That is exactly what mentorship is all about - to build great students and great people out of you. Your mentors will be very happy about your accomplishments wherever they will be, even after death. Thus we need to take our mentors and mentorship seriously.

At St. Patrick’s High School-Iten in form three I was trailing my colleagues in math. One time I asked my teacher why other students performed better than I. He replied that because they did a lot of practice. Practice makes perfect. I picked a friend Edison Marindich as a study mate. We began revising math a lot more, spending an hour every day without fail. We utilized two revision books a Topmark series and a C. Muturi which we exhausted after one year of practice and honest self-marking. In the subsequent Iten Math Contest (very difficult math examinations), Edison was mentioned. His mother bought us a yellow alarm clock which helped us to manage time very well. In the end I scored an A in the KCSE math exam. (I changed my course at the university from science to arts because I love literature.) Therefore, I urge every student to devote more attention into study.

There is no genius student. The only genius student is the one who studies hard consistently and haves fun all the time without wasting their valuable time. Facility for study and avidity for reading are all that make the difference because they expand your mind tremendously to tackle complex questions by effective reasoning. But read good books that help you to pass your exams and to expand your mind. If you are in doubt about good books, consult your teachers every time. My reading enabled me in the third form to become the third best student in British Council Essay writing competition in 1999. Otherwise, there are no other brilliant high students in Kenya than the ones before me this afternoon.

I wish you all the best in your studies and examinations.

Thank you very much.