How Police Sacco Chairman Mategwa defied all odds as a junior police officer
The ability to persevere in the face of adversity is what typically separates the everyman and the great – the very concept that defines David Mategwa.
Mategwa – the current Chairman of Kenya Police Sacco, a multibillion savings and credit co-operative entity, took on adversity at an early age and emerged with gold.
“Nobody knows what you will be tomorrow but on the other side things started way back when I was an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church in Kakamega and I believe my fear of God and the elderly has led me to where I am today,” opens up Mategwa during an interview with People Plus.
At first you notice Mategwa’s grandiose side. An impeccably, well-tailored crisp grey suit and an upscale large office space that is accompanied by an inviting warm smile that has become a guiding light to the company’s impressive growth revenues since he assumed the chairmanship role in 2013 prior to serving as the Sacco’s vice chairman for five years.
But before you make your mind about him, the 54 – year old takes you to another world – one of great difficulties and struggles he had to go through before he became what he is today.
“I endured a difficult start to my career as a young police recruit and my first work station was in North-Eastern and several of my colleagues would get transfers but I would be left behind. This went on for many years and tormented me until one day the late Police Commissioner Philip Kilonzo came to Garissa for a routine check,” narrates the soft-speaking Rhumba aficionado.
Kilonzo – one of Mategwa’s high-ranking boss died seven years after Robert Ouko murder at the age of 60. He collapsed while drinking in a bar having just ordered a kilo of meat to be prepared for his lunch. Prior to his demise Kilonzo had been jogging.
It was during his visit at the Matalanka barracks in Garissa that Mategwa said he glanced at an opportunity to raise his plight to the late police commissioner in the hope that his desire to be moved out of the North Eastern region and particularly Garissa would be met.
Life in the Kenya’s North region is typically characterized by hard life owing to scarcity and availability of vital resources like clean running water and terrorism.
“So when he (Kilonzo) came to where we were at the barracks, we were told not to ask any questions and so when he came closer to me I raised my hand and pleaded my case.
Then immediately he picked my service number and my transfer was released the following day, so I think my leadership talents emanated from there. Everything that happens in life God has a reason for it,” explains Mategwa – whose transfers led him to Kasarani, Pangani and Kilimani police stations in the traffic departments for close to 10 years – one of the toughest departments to work in the police service.
“Traffic is one of the toughest departments to work in our service, very tough but I never gave hope,” he says.
It was during his spell at Kilimani police station that a first sniff into the Kenya Police Sacco leadership came and Mategwa says he grabbed it following his nomination by his station boss to represent the unit at the national delegates meeting (elections) by the Sacco which was registered on 20th November 1972.
He would then be elected as one of the Saccos key delegates and later the chairman of Kilimani branch before being thrust into the national level, where he went on to serve in various positions and later as the Sacco’s Chairman.
Today, the happily – married husband and a father thrives of having successfully turned around the initial negative perception about the Sacco and the police service commission.
Kenya Police Sacco is today ranked the third largest Sacco in the country and has set out an ambitious plan to expand its asset base to Sh43 billion despite Covid-19 pandemic shocks and looming sector realignments.
“The motivation I get is to see my members make progress in life. And I have that peace of mind that makes me remain calm like I am, I also listen to music a lot,” he says.
The society’s assets grew by 20 per cent to Sh34 billion last year with annual deposits at Sh19 billion and a loan book of Sh29 billion. Revenues grew to Sh6 billion from Sh4.5 billion the previous year.