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Uhuru honours policeman who traded gun for chalk with HSC

A Police Constable based in Marsabit who traded his gun for chalk to teach children in an insecurity prone region has been been awarded the Head of State Commendation (HSC) for his unique contribution to the society.

President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred Police Constable Jairus Mulumia the HSC award on Thursday at State House Nairobi following admiration and praise for the police officer who has a soft spot for children and education.

Mulumia was posted to Forole Primary School in Marsabit to protect the institution and while on his routine duties in September he noted some teachers were missing due to insecurity and he took it upon himself to teach the pupils.

The constable, who is also a trained teacher, moved Kenyans after his photo while teaching in his combat gear in September went viral on social media as he solved math problems on the board as pupils followed the lesson keenly.

Constable Mulumia later said he noticed that Grade Five pupils were idle and decided to act — he went to the class to teach mathematics just days after eleven people had been killed by suspected Ethiopian militants.

A week before, he had also been recognised during the Public Service Commission annual excellence awards.

“Through these awards, we hope to transform our public service towards a more citizen-centric focus to ensure that the services we offer are professional, efficient and readily available to citizens,” Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua during the event last week.

Dr Kinyua then indicated that Mulumia’s name would be forwarded to the President and be recommended for an award so that he becomes a role model for others.

During an interview with the Daily Nation in September, Mulumia noted that teachers posted to the area failed to show up due to rising insecurity and he decided to volunteer after discovering pupils were still coming to school.

He, however, said he was unaware that his photo had 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 Kenyans as well as his bosses, who say the move is a reflection of the ongoing police reforms.

The picture was posted by Education Development Trust Africa on their Facebook saying: “(Jairus) was part of a security team deployed following a series of banditry attacks in the area, which left several people dead. When our team visited the school last week, some teachers had not reported due to insecurity obtaining in the area. The pupils were idle in class. After getting permission from the headteacher, Mulumia, a trained teacher, got into class 5 and started teaching mathematics. Apparently, only girls in that class had the courage to come to school that day.”

Kenyans applauded him with some lauding him as the real definition of ‘Utumishi kwa Kwote’.

“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.

On Jamhuri Day, Mulumia was awarded alongside world renowned Peter Tabichi, a science teacher who gives away 80% of his salary to help the poor.

The list of persons who have rendered outstanding service to humanity and the country shrunk from 402 to 12 in an unprecedented move that caught everyone by surprise.

President Uhuru Kenyatta this time left out politicians from state commendations awarded to achievers during the 56th celebrations of Jamhuri Day.

Others awarded include visiting Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (Elder of the Golden Heart), Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai (Moran of the Golden Heart), marathon champion Mary Keitany (Order of the Grand Warrior) and Mzee Moiyiae ole Nkaka (HSC).

Mzee Moiyiae ole Nkaka was recognised for surrendering a two-acre piece of land for construction of the Kibuka Community Water Project in Kajiado County.