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Moi former student, Charles Cheruiyot, rekindles memories

Thursday, February 6th, 2020 00:00 |
Charles Cheruiyot, 80.

Charles Cheruiyot, 80, remembers Moi as the tall soft spoken teacher who wore a kaptula and loved current affairs. 

Recalling his days as a pupil at the Government African School in Kabarnet 65 years ago, Cheruiyot describes Moi as a friendly teacher with excellent handwriting, who also loved discussing civics and cultural affairs. 

“I never saw him in a long trouser but he was very smart. He also wore half-boots brown leather shoes with long socks,” Cheruiyot, a former teacher himself, says Moi only used complete chalks. 

He observes that Moi was destined to join politics from the beginning because he always digressed in his lessons to world matters—discussing prominent world leaders such as Alexander the Great, Mesopotamia among others. 

“He was a very good teacher, very strict but always humble,” he recalls. He taught us civics, current affairs and cultural values in standard five.

“This means Moi was a politician going by his choice of subjects,” he adds.

Cheruiyot says that because he was the youngest in a class of 35 pupils, he stood out and Moi always referred to him. 

“I always sat at the front but because Moi always shot questions for us to answer I started skiving his classes by feigning sickness...” he says. 

“He asked us to tell him our clan names and totems but because I didn’t know anything about it I started dodging his subjects,” he adds.

He recalls one moment Moi sent another student by the name Ben Sadalla to look for him. 

He opened his first shop selling pens and books in Timboiywo near Sacho—his birth place. 

“We came from the same area with Sadalla and therefore he was my minder at the school.

He found in the dormitory and asked why I was not in class and when I told him I was sick he didn’t believe me,” he recalls. 

Sadalla went on to be a reputable medical doctor. He passed on about 10 years ago. “Moi also taught us Christian values and although he was very strict he never beat us… I never saw him caning pupils,” he says.

Moi stayed for one year at the school before Moses Mudavadi, the then area District Education Officer (DEO) convinced him to join politics, replacing Dr. John ole Tameno as Rift Valley representative in the Legislative Council (Legco).

While Cheruiyot worked for a few years as a primary school teacher before dumping the chalk for politics.

He served for many years as Baringo district coordinator and office manager for independence party Kanu and this is where his interaction with Moi went a notch higher.

“Moi was a good man,” he says, adding: “He had good intentions for this country and he will particularly be remembered for his philosophy of peace, love and unity,” he said.

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