Kenya glossary












Masindet village, Kapsokwony


22 November 1996



Section 1
I am talking to Andrew Chemayiek Sikirio of Masindet village here in Mount Elgon District. Could you start by telling us when you were born and…
Actually I was born in the year 1946.

Where exactly?
At Masindet village, Kapsokwony sub-location, Elgon location, Kapsokwony Division, Mount Elgon District now. So, before I went to school my work was to look after the animals, I looked after animals…

At a very early age?
Yes, and I was very competent. I use to mix cows and goats and sheep together. But goats are very notorious and troublesome. But all the same we had a large piece of land so they could roam in all places. But then, I went to school in 1954.

Yes, in class one.

So you were just about eight years old?
Yeah, those days were queer, you could not go when you were very young and there were no nursery schools. So I started with…I went to start at my sister's place in Kapkaten, that is Kopsiro Division now.

Your sister was married there?
She was married there. So I stayed with her one full year and completed standard one, then moved to…I came back from my sister's place to my own home here and went to start standard two in Kipchiria Primary school where I continued up to standard four.

Which year?
This was in 57, I was in four. But then because my father was a polygamist, he did not fulfil certain things I wanted. The demands of school, that is uniforms, whatever. Life became very bad, so I moved way. I ran away from home and went to stay with my sister's...another sister at Kibuk here.

At Kibuk?

How many were you in the family?
Ooh, there were too many…over twenty. Mzee had four wives.
Section 2
OK. You must have been among the…
The young ones.

That is why you could take refuge at your sister’s…
Yes, because the elder brothers never went to school, so their work was to marry and claim the tracks of land, and fighting the old man to snatch that wealth. And the old man got very impoverished. So I felt he could not attend to some of us, he had senior problems to attend to. So when I went to my sister's place, that was in May 1957, I stayed there up to December. But I used to go to Kibuk Primary School, by then I was still very young, and my work was to play football for them - nothing else. Just go there in the afternoon and just play football. But then the old man got a bit concerned and called me back home in December 1957.
I came home, and he told me now he wanted me to go back to school. And I told him, this time I told him, not Kipchiria and the conditions are you must fit me [with a] uniform and buy me books. So he said he will do all that. So I told him now it is my choice also, I will go to Kapsokwony instead. So I came to Kapsokwony Primary here and joined standard four. I did very well and passed the CEE - Common Entrance Examination. Then we opened standard five which was not there, four of us. Four of us opened standard five here, four of us also went and opened…hmm joined Kaptama intermediate. We were I think eight who passed that exam. So I went on, went on up to 1961. In 1959 I joined standard five of course, in 60 standard six, and in 61 I proceeded to seven. But the school fees problem came again, so I went back.

To your sister's?
No, to the…to the…I went back home. I…I…I…refused to…I was stopped to continue because of the…

Because of lack of fees?
Yes, because of fees. I asked the old man to give a piece of land by the riverside because he had a lot of land lying fallow, which he accepted and I started borrowing a jembe (hoe) to make a fortune out of it. I used to grow vegetables, grow a little maize, sell the vegetables, exchange the maize…

How old were you then?
By then I was…if you can calculate…I can't remember off the top of my head...

You were so enterprising so early…
Aa...lets see... at eight I was one, standard two I was nine, standard three, 10, standard four... yeah … I was 14 then, OK. Yes, I was 14, now I could reason out things. If the family is not creating economic activity and the animals are almost finished because other sons had used them in marriage and other things. The only alternative was to look at the soil. So that helped me to develop some liking for farming. And really it helped me go through primary, I came back in 1962, I tried to go to eight straight away, it was difficult, so I retrieved. So in the afternoons and after school I did the farming…

And sold the products?
Section 3
So you virtually paid your own fees?
My own fees. I did that up to 1963 and qualified but not very well. Nineteen... yeah 1963. So what I did, I stayed home in 1964. 1965, I had enough money now, I went to Kibuk, standard eight where I now chanced to get to secondary school, Kibabii Secondary School in 1966, form one up to 69. I completed and went to Eregi for a P1 course and then I thought I should now go to practice teaching near home.

For what reasons?
For reasons that I could now manage this soil properly since I had some little capital. So I came home, I was staffed at a school known as Kamashelo.

Kamashelo down here. I was operating to and from and then I now managed to buy oxen. I bought animals. I could now foot [the bill] for the entire family and I married after three years, building a small permanent house, did a bit of planting coffee and so on and so forth. So that one gave me an economical…eeh…

An economic base…
Yeah, base. So I did that, but then the old man now… the other brothers envied. They said this man will soon take the whole farm because he is now the manager.

Your father now became close?
Became close. And [I] said, “Papa, now do it and help others?” So many brothers went to school, those who were young, the small sisters, whatever…

You educated them?
I educated them. Reaching somewhere (?), these fellows said: “No, this gentleman will in the end get the land to himself by way of title deed, so this farm should be divided.” So the brothers left school and came to press the old man to divide the land. Then I asked the old man, “Are you also giving me a piece?” he said, “Ooh yeah, why not?” So the land was demarcated and I was given 3.5 acres. On this 3.5 acres, I divided it into…about four sections. One and a half acres, I planted coffee. Three-quarters of an acre, I planted citrus fruits, about 135 steaks. Then three-quarters of an acre I put there two good dairy cows of zero grazing. Then on about one eighth or a quarter an acre I put the homestead. Now I had come back properly again. But then, this is now in the 80s?

Um…teachers found now this man (the narrator), he has grown so fast. At Kamashelo he was appointed Deputy Headmaster, he did it so well. Again moved, he was appointed after four years a Headmaster. Now...moved to Kipchiria, developed that place, helped the church to raise a church building as a treasurer of the church. He raised a clinic, he extended the school. Where is this man going with all these? And he is developing very fast at home. And when these people were still bargaining on that, the clashes came.

Just before you get to that, what do you attribute your success to…I mean rising fast in the ladder?
In ladder?
Section 4
Actually I attribute it to self-reliance, independent thinking in addition to external expertise. I found that when I was doing this agricultural work, the agricultural officers, field officers, got interested in what I was doing in my farming and they used to visit me. So I used to welcome them and allow their ideas in. So they really boosted me by subjecting me to tours. For example in 1977, they took me to Kiambu, they took my friends…we visited farmers…

Yes, you visited farmers of…
Various categories, we were shown farms ranging from 0.25 that is a quarter an acre to up to 35 acres. Those who keep dairy, those grow coffee, those who keep poultry, those who keep pigs. So, it appears to my understanding…it appeared that whereas I started growing maize and vegetables, I did not know there was advanced technology in farming that would involve projects that produce more money from very small unit areas. So from there, I came and reorganised my farm to the state where…eehm… where clashes found me. Also the agricultural officers were bringing experts from the ministry headquarters, provincial, whatever. All these people were all the time, giving me more information about farming by giving me a lot of knowledge, and I seemed to have liked this. It really assisted me develop farming activities on the small farm. All the same, this farm enabled me again to acquire more - about seven and a half acres outside that place. I bought some more land using…

The proceeds of the farm…
Aha…and then I looked into how I could even put in a telephone, because I did not want to be moving out to look for things that I would not get. And I found I was a bit…

You were moving fast…
Maybe moving fast. I tapped water from the roof catchment whatever, grew fodder, so...

And at duty…rising from an assistant teacher to a headmaster…
But I stopped it at that level because I didn't want any…I didn't want any duty that would take me very far away from the farm. I like teaching because after work I come to do those things. Weekends I am around, unlike if I were an officer. I would probably be transferred elsewhere and the development of the farm would be rather difficult. So this put me to a place where I felt that I should even extend this farming activity to business. I remember I even told my wife in 1990 that whatever we have done at home here, it might not be very pleasing to many eyes. People will feel envious and will even one day arrange and think we have money and kill us.
Mama said no! “But we cannot leave these animals, the milk here is plenty, coffee is...whatever, we have fruits, we have our house…good house, so if we leave here and go to town who will take care of the farm?” I told her no, you know, although we have influenced the community, because I had also influenced my brothers to go in for horticulture and they were doing very well. You could get a brother who has a small piece of land - one and a half acres - owning an ox-cart, two oxen, one dairy cow, and he has tomatoes, onions on that small acre. But outside there he is growing ten acres of maize. So when I realised Mama was not…was not…
Section 5
Comfortable to move, I became rather adamant and said, “Now I will not be organising things on the farm for you. You look for workers, I will be paying them.” Now then I was elected as Secretary Director in the company of the teachers of Bungoma. We call it Bungoma Teachers Enterprises Limited, whereby this tourist hotel was one of the projects. I went and manned it in 90, 91… But in December 91, clashes came in. When clashes came in brother, I am sorry to say… it is very bad for clashes to get you when you are living at the border. On the boundary of two...

Warring communities…
And especially if you become the target. A target. I was now a target because the activities of the farm had provoked people. You used to hear, “Ooh Andrew is coming up very fast…eehh…and these days he can even ride a very good bicycle, he dresses well, he eats well, his children eat well, he sleeps well... maybe there is a lot of loot in this place.”

So when the tribal clashes came by?
My home was a target. I remember it was on the 28th of December 1991 when a group of Bukusu and Teso came with their pangas (swords), spears, clubs, towards our home. And I told my brothers we cannot run away. You know with us Sabaot, we don't do without arrows, I am sorry to say this.

No, no, no…just feel free…
It’s for our defence. So, we guarded the boma (homestead). Then what happened, these fellows could not penetrate so they designed a method. Some of them ran to the police in Kimilili and reported that there is someone by the names Andrew Chemayiek who is a teacher. “He has a big army of Sabaot warriors near, at his home. And this fellow has three lorries of guns and three lorries of arrows. We cannot penetrate that place and reach them. So you better assist us otherwise this man will finish us. He has also two drums of petrol for burning people's homes or houses.” The police they said, “Eeeeh!”

You learnt this later?
I learnt this later on, yes I was told later on.

How many were you in the house?
No we were not in the house, we were about fifteen brothers. We were just guarding the boma. We had left the houses there, the children we had advised the families to come on to the hills. So I don't know what the police did. We saw a big lorry with six police officers and a lot of manambas (conductors from small commuter vehicles), they were just singing, “We want the head of Andrew Chemayiek, nothing else. Should we get that head we shall even know, we shall stop fighting.” Imagine why they were interested in this one head. Why? Why? I…I imagined there must be some fellows whom I have given a headache through development, and they are my colleagues, but they are incapable of developing. You know I used not to drink, so all my money was going to the useful purpose, you know.
So these fellows when the police came they jumped out of the vehicle and started scarring us with shoots, with shooting. Then we find…aah…these people seem to be coming with some hidden agenda, we run away! So these fellows came up to the home, they got the house there…we had locked the house; they shot the lock, they broke in, they went in, hakuna kitu (there is nothing). But then those fellows said “we were sent to burn this home, first of all we were sent to kill this man and after which we burn the home.” Eh! What is this? We were up here in the hills watching helplessly the house being burnt.
Section 6
While you watched?
We were watching the house being burnt down from the valley.

Who did that? The police or...
The…the...the... hooligans, call them manambas or whatever. But they were supervised by the police. The police were there to guard any…anybody coming to scare them away, you see. That is when I realised that when the law is flouted in any country, nobody should say he will be safe. Nobody…however innocent. He will die, my friend. People, let people joke while talking about abc, when the worst comes to the worst and the law loses…goes loose a little, aah brother! Your real brother will even kill you, as long as you are better in position. He will say this one has this and that.

Do you link it with anything else…I mean what do you think was the reason behind it?
The reason behind it is that, at the church, I was working as a treasurer of the parish, and the dominant people in that CPK church were Teso, and very few Bukusu. This church was started in 1933, but until...

Which church is this?
Kipchiria CPK Church. I was the treasurer. So, when I went there after my transfer from Kamashelo to Kipchiria in 1980, I worked with a padre very well and he saw the potentiality…my potential. He influenced the parishers to elect me as parish treasurer. And when I got there, I got tough on the money, and directed it into development. But the fellows, the old men and other people who were sacking (?) that, were not happy. “This fellow has stopped what we used to enjoy, this mikatis (loaves of bread), tea, chukkas (?) every now and then.”
I remember one incident where every time we had a meeting, a development meeting, they killed a ram. But then I calculated and said, twenty seven people eating a ram one day, its just a waste. Why don't we calculate the number of kilos of meat and then buy meat, say four kilos and two kilos of sugar and then buy bread about thirteen loaves and call it a day. The fellows didn't like that, especially the old men. So they incited...they started inciting the officials of the church against me.
There was their own son, I cannot name him, he is now a bishop, who was really notorious in this, and he is the one who was inciting old men to frustrate me. So when I left the tourist hotel, it was again too difficult. Anything...I wanted to see development. Me I like... I like building for the future, not destroying for the future. So there again when I was a Secretary-Director, there were fellows who wanted the post but I was voted unanimously, because those fellows, who knew me, knew what I would do.
So those people were also envying me on that position. They wanted that position, the people here didn't want me to remain in the church and cause this. And then worse of all, I became a... I became a... What do you call… what do you call the representative of the church in the bishop's council? OK, a synod member. So we went to participate to divide the CPK church in Maseno North into two dioceses. Nambale diocese and Nambale North. So I participated, so I favoured an old man known as Namango.
Section 7
Isaac Namango. But then there is somebody called Okring, who is the Bishop of Katakwa now, who wanted to become the Bishop of Nambale. But we reasoned that although he comes from my place…you imagine, in the Electoral College - the committee going to elect the bishop - there are ten people. Luhyas has eight, and there are only two Teso…brother how will you make it? Let us just give this old man…after all he is near retirement. And you work under him meanwhile, because you will be on this side, and when he retires you take over. It was logical that we promote the Assistant Bishop (Namango) into a bishop since another diocese had been created. So we worked, we worked until a…a commission of enquiry was set, called Njuguna Commission. To come and…

Why Njuguna?
There was Njuguna, Bishop Njuguna. Remember Njuguna who messed in the church.

Oh yeah - yeah…
So that man was sent to come and get the views of the Christians. So when they came, I was the headmaster at Kipchiria and also a synod member – “Mzee ya Kanisa,” I told them, “We in this place, we are the elders of the church. We agree, we have agreed that it is Namango who should become the bishop, not Okring.” No, not that way, that was not ours. Ours was, those ones came to find out if Katakwa could qualify for a diocese and where could the boundary be.
So what happened was Okring influenced all Teso to form Katakwa diocese. Headquarters would be at Katakwa in Busia by then. But then he wanted Mount Elgon to be administered from Busia. But we, the Nambale diocesan officials, had given the ok [to] the map or the commission map. Okring would not touch Mount Elgon and Kimilili going like that. He would only be given Busia, one of the divisions called Amagoro. So that thing was drawn, the Archbishop Kuria gave them that diocese, Katakwa diocese, covering most parts of Teso. But then still Okring had influenced [people] at this other end saying, claiming, that his relatives in Mount Elgon here are his churches. So he called the homes of those people “churches”…

So you were also a church?
I was also a church in this sense. So that thing brought a wrangle in the church. But really we persisted until Okring was told to remain in Katakwa and leave this place to Nambale. So these Teso here said that it was me who denied them the diocese in Mount Elgon to go down there. But I told them, we don't want a diocese which we get by wrangles. We were given Nambale in good faith, we shall also grow slowly. Should we qualify for a diocese in future, let it come through church laws.
I even remember to have told Njuguna, who came to verify this mess, that it appeared that the hierarchy of the church at Nairobi was not seeing...was not keeping to the church constitution. They are now bending to influences and so they are just favouring individuals to get them a diocese. I said, should you do this, then you will cause more problems in the church. I told them, if you can give Katakwa a diocese to extend up to Mount Elgon, then this constitution will be useless. In fact I dropped out, saying some of us will drop out and take the Bible and follow God. It will be useless to follow now what you people say. Let us use the constitution to put us together - the constitution that doesn't serve any purpose at all – and actually since then, the constitution of the CPK church in Kenya has lost its credibility. That is why you see wrangles in the CPK. People want to get to power by force. I am only happy that the Bishop who was elected the other day has come in by election. But who knows what might have...
So…so... I suspect some fellows might have thought, in order to succeed to absorb Elgon into Katakwa - because they have not yet given up - if this man can die during clashes, we can attribute it to the clashes – [the reason] that he went away. Leave that also, even at home here with politicians, they also sensed this fellow (me) is dangerous. I guess, they might also have thought that...
Section 8
Thought that you are perhaps nursing hopes of challenging the sitting MP?
So you see? And then the Bukusu...yeah, for us here, from time immemorial, we don't [know] when our grandfathers started, once in a while, every after about 30 years, a Bukusu must fight with a Sabaot.

After every...
Every thirty years, because I remember when I was young in 1963, there was, there was this...this huh…1963…when Uhuru came in, and we were electing our own MPs. The Bukusu didn't want us to get an MP, they wanted to be MPs here, and then dominate us, because they were feeling they could marginalise us - we are just a small trace of people. So there was a fight between Bukusu, not...not Luhyia, between Bukusu and Sabaot. Actually those who were here...yeah...yeah...yeah.. also in 1930. Every thirty years there must be trouble. Why? Because these were our lands. Kimilili, Bungoma, whatever, we used to border with Teso. But when Chief Mumia, when the Mzungu used Chief Mumia to develop this country, Chief Mumia, Senior Chief Mumia appointed his headmen. And he brought somebody called Murunga in Kimilili here.
So what this Murunga did, was ask the headmen here to take people, and prepare paths to lead from house to house, to make roads for easy communication. But people were not interested, they were never farmers, they were pastoralists. So they were forced to dig those things. Those fellows used to hide, but when they were taken there, they were pulled by their hair (dreadlocks). Whatever Murunga had in mind, nobody can tell. But we suspect they were pulling their hair (dreadlocks) to scare them and chase them away, so that Bukusu could come and settle in their land. There were also pioneer companies. Men were being forced to go and work there. And when the DC asks Murunga to give him people, he comes and picks them from the Sabaot living [in the same area as] Bukusu. And then the Bukusu annexed our land. Every time we move a little, they come, every time we move a little they…
Section 9
Am I right to guess that the war...I mean you were the attackers because you were protesting against being stepped on your toes?
We were protesting because they had an upper hand and we got the heat. You get me brother? Sincerely speaking we have no grudge with Bukusu.

So you told me that in 1963 it also happened. Did it also involve the burning of houses?
The burning of houses...Bukusu were burning the houses of Sabaot down here, we were also burning those who were up here and chasing them there.

And what happens in a case where a Sabaot has married a Bukusu lady, a Bukusu has married a do you go about it?
These things used to happen. That one who is a die-hard stays with the husband, but that one who has a lot of attachment to their home… When the clashes start she runs away to her home and leaves the children here, likewise their girls would come up this way and so on.

And…and they have the audacity of burning their mukhwasi's (brother-in-law’s) houses?
Yes, now it is war…it is an enemy. You see the point? So, in 1963…Then it came to 91 and the Katakwa thing. Teso had said because they had established churches here - you know they are the first people to receive Christianity. And you know a Sabaot who had many cows and a Teso who had just come to beg to settle here was given a chance. And went through the church and now wants to preach to the Sabaot. He feels... haaahh! A very inferior person preach to me in the church, [so] I sit far away and he stands up before me, no way! So that thing became a disadvantage on the Sabaot to receive Christianity very fast, but it became an advantage to the Teso who preached to the Teso to come together and refuse to drink beer and educate their children.
And later on, they were now the people taking over…you see the point? But instead of taking that peacefully, they started boasting. They started saying they also wanted assistant chiefs here, they wanted chiefs, they wanted.. Wooohh! When the clashes came, they didn't spare Bukusu nor a Teso this time. They all woouup...(erupted in anger?)

Together. And also our people there ..woouuup.. You see how the whole thing has been going on? Besides. Teso don't circumcise. So seeing somebody who is uncircumcised coming and preaching to him at church, and at the same time he is a workman, who is supposed to preach to his master. That brought worry.
Section 10
So it was mainly because of enmity?
Enmity and also...You see the Teso called their church their own dominance (gave them the right to dominate?), as if they were implying they had now claimed those lands and so and so. You know a Sabaot, if you challenge him on land and cow, you are an enemy straight away. So when the Luhyas...the Bukusu snatched their soils, you know they reduced them to these rugged places using Murunga and the rest, they found that their pastures had been interfered with so they could not keep many herds of cattle. That was up to…there is still bitterness up to today.
Then when Teso in the church now claimed they were now ruling these people, and yet they are uncircumcised, they have their own district or they have their home where they came from, they are not indigenous. They found them, haahhh! These ones are growing into something else. You are getting me? Then this aspects could now be fanned by politicians, funny politicians. Those of here because the wanted kuras could order these ones to kill these people, and finish them even if they know there are boundaries… saying they snatched your lands. And then Bukusu here would say “now finish these ones here and we [can] engulf this land.” So instead of the leaders quenching this, they, they ...

They fuelled it...
So in the cause of that then victims like ourselves, because we are small people we would be sent to go to those hills which are very high. Hiyo ndio taabu tu ndugu yangu nakwambia. Serikali ya Kenya wasipopata viongozi timamu mtakulana fyuuuuhh!

How have you recuperated from this?

Yes from the clashes. Have you now settled?
After burning those, that house and all that…you know I have a big family. I have a family of fifteen children…fifteen people.

That is, thirteen children and the two of you?
Yes, and two parents. Now we ran up here…

You are married to one wife?
Yes. But some other children you know we had other ways of getting them when we were delaying in schools. And I have also adopted a Turkana boy. When he was young I educated him up to form four, he is still with me. He is my son. Now what happened is that after the clashes they burned everything of mine and looted all. We only came here in the clothes we had. Because you know when you are just at home you can't dress well. So reaching here, my family was settled at this AIC church. There is a building here, it was a mzungu’s (a white’s), a certain pastor's house. So, that pastor received us.

Do you know his name?
Yeah, Pastor Kogo.

Kogo. So he received us. This gentleman accepted us to stay there for some…for a while, while we looked for a place to settle. So my daughters and mum were sleeping there. Then the boys were settled in the AIC church behind there. But myself I was sleeping in house, for one month, one full month.
Section 11
Just mention his name please for the purpose of record…
I was sleeping in Mr Bramwel Kiminyi's house who is my brother-in-law. And then meals we would just eat here. But one day my cousin came, [with] the sister of his wife. Then my cousin asked the other sister if she could give me a house she had built but didn't have windows and a roof. And the floor had not been cemented. But that lady accepted, so I went in for a small loan in the SACCO society, I got a 5,000 emergency loan and then bought cement and a few things.
So I made the roof and bought two doors, the main door and the bedroom door and the outer one…three. So, we started now cooking for ourselves. We were depending on friends, they assisted us. They would bring us food, others would bring us whatever, and then the relief and so on and so on, although that one (the relief) was abused. The people who were given [the relief] to distribute were even smuggling them for sale. That is brave enough.
So, because of school fees and feeding the family, I have not up to today settled. I have never gone back. These ActionAid people were telling me they wanted to give us grass and poles to put up houses. I told them “supposing my children play with a box of matches and the same thing goes on fire, will you not attribute it to clashes starting again and inciting people? So, if you could give me maybe 20 mabatis (iron sheets) to make a two roomed house, maybe I would go back. But without that, you settle those you can afford.” So up to today I have not settled. But what has squeezed me so much is, I have two children in secondary school for whom I am paying school fees, one has completed, some are in a special primary schools.

I am just imagining what the situation is like... because if this is your state yet you are employed, what is the case of those others who are virtually poor?
Who are not employed? In fact that is…it is more than terrible, because me I get a little money. But then the other ones, the others have nothing. You know the misery that is in Elgon, is not because we don't have assets, but is just because we don't have people to represent us in the government. There is a vacuum: the government is here, the people are there. Those who are suppose to construct the bridges (between the people and the government), are eating the things themselves and even turning to kick…to kick them. Because, why I am saying this is because, if people on the ground could…if their views could be received by the government through administration or through politicians, we could look into issues that could salvage the situation immediately, and those which are not and are heavy could be forwarded to the government. For example we would study…a sub chief would ask the villagers, “What are your essential…eeh…?”

Needs. “What are your basic needs?” They would say, “We have the soil, we have water, but we have nothing to manipulate the soil.” Then we think of a way to raise a harambee (joint self-help initiative/pulling together), and buy maybe two oxen and a jembe for about five members of the community to plough their fifteen acres. And then we raise harambee buy them seeds, and these people are very competent, they can…after harvesting they can pick from there. But nobody has ever thought of that, we only call for donations you see. You see, and whoever is [chosen to forward these requests] says that he also needs a donation. So we are not coming off the ground.
Although ActionAid has assisted: people were given grass and houses were erected…those ones have gone back but up to today you can even see the lands are lying fallow and they are just there. They have nothing to start them off, you see. So, me I can…I can…I can afford food with my salary, I can even, I can also even not afford to buy an ox you know. I can't afford but I have a farm because when the money comes, that meagre salary, it goes straight away to children and clothing and food and so on and so forth. But this one who has nothing...
Section 12
It must have been very rough. Before I forget, what happened to your livestock?
Aaa, those ones went with the world.

Oooh, the oxen and everything?
They went with the world.

OK. Let us come to your role in KNUT, the Kenya National Union of Teachers…
Actually before I came to the Kenya National Union of Teachers after…eh…during the clashes, some gentlemen now - those who were envying my position as Secretary-Director - they now threatened that should I be found in Bungoma I would be killed. So a lot of fabrications were in that. “We are looking for that man's head. When those fellows are saying scare him so that we have his place and we say no longer there and we take over his position.”
So what I did, I stayed at home. When I stayed, teachers came from this place. They said: “Bwana, we feel we cannot lose you like that. Whenever we go to Bungoma for loans and ask for say 80,000, the management just provokes us and says, ‘You want to get this money and do what with it?’ Those fellows say we are going to develop. ‘No, you are going to buy guns to kill us, so we can't give you that much!’” So these fellows got angry and came to tell me: “We can't start ours even if we are not a district. We are a sub-district, we can start our SACCO society.” So they asked me to lead them, they gave me the chairmanship position and eventually we struggled up to Nairobi.

Which year was that?
That was 1992.

In 1992 I struggled, struggled until we registered that society with a membership of about 42 members. Then we started…I started giving them loans, giving them external tours until the thing actually...By the time I left it reached a membership of 370. So after one and a half years, that was in 19…eeh…94 early, you know 93 towards the end, the government announced we had been given a district. So these fellows, my colleagues came to me again, they said: “We have got a district. We have tried to find a spokesman for the teachers, we haven’t got it. Please do you mind leading this one…what do you have here now to do that is so serious?” I told them no, me I only go to meetings, I sign cheques, I lead my colleagues on tours. They said, “Leave that one, come to this one whereby you can defend us teachers, you can protect us, you can be our mouth-piece.” So, I tried to campaign but funny enough the politician discovered too late that I was also among the candidates. So he preferred my candida…my…my…
Section 13
Your opponent?
My opponent. Then the teachers asked him why he wanted this fellow. He said, “This one is soft but that one, I can't work with him.” He tried to bribe he tried to say…the teachers refused. He ran to his home, where he hails from, Cheptais and wanted to buy people. So I almost lost but I went through by seven votes, I defeated my colleague by seven votes. So it was by election that a new district had been created. So…

Do you recall the figure of your votes against his?
Yeah he got...correct he got, he got 141 and I got something like 148 because there was a difference of seven.

That was close…
Yeah. That is when now I learnt my MP is a really opponent. He went on…we cooperated well, worked on, worked on, worked on. But now the general elections of KNUT came, that was in May this year, 4th May. He campaigned earlier with the DEO and his staff and then other fellows like even local people bwana. Some KANU men came, my brother-in-law almost boxed one, one fellow who was a KANU man. He came to tell him that he was so happy because I had failed. What!? This one...So he really poured money did all these things so…But the campaign was dirty. It was dirty in the sense it divided our own teachers. He told my rivals that if you want to finish this man since you the teachers from Cheptais are more than this side...

Vote as a block…
In clanism. What you do, you say this man is saying…You know I am a Kony and they are the Bok. Bok means that is the area not the people, the area. Even Kony, this is Kony area, so anybody who comes from here is called a Kony. Even if you come and stay here for five years or so, when we stay with you here, when you boast, you say: “I am a Kony because I stay in Kony.” But when you stay in Cheptais you say you are Bok because you come from Bok.
So he told one of the people who was campaigning as a chairman that “you just say…if you want to finish this man you say Andrew is saying the KNUT elections of this year will be between Bok and Kony teachers.” He even went as far as telling the Bok teachers that Andrew is saying that unless the Bok teachers, who are contesting any seats, wipe their anus properly and remove that chafu (dirt) and smell they will never be given positions. So just to provoke..

That was really dirty…
It was really…really dirty bwana. And then the other colleague who took over my position - who is a nephew of his - he told him, “Now you need a lot of Teso and Bukusu. You tell Bukusu and Teso that it is Andrew who organised the army men during the clashes to chase you away and kill your people. So he is a very bad man, very bad man. Then tell them that for the last two years, Andrew as an Executive Secretary has never allowed any Bukusu or Teso candidates or students to join college.” So brother what happened, the Sabaot teachers divided themselves into two, then the Bukusu and Teso teachers three quarters of them went to the other colleague. So the Bok group snatched half of our teachers here and added two hundred Bukusu and they got the lion's share, so they went through.
Section 14
And you lost…
When I lost I stayed one month, two months, three months, four months…

Did you lose with your entire team?
I lost with the whole team! None of my team went through. So what happened, I didn't choose to go back to class because I had my own interest although my family suffered because staying without salary for five months and yet...

If I may ask, what does your wife do? wife is just eeh…

She is a housewife?
Yeah. So after…for the first month things started turning very hot for the politicians. Now these fellows picked up from there and said, “You have fought these men and you have favoured the other one, we are also going to see you people in the future.” So there has been a lot of fighting there, and currently as I am speaking, the MP of this area has a difficult task ahead of him. Because this was his main area and eehm...

Is he a Kony?
No, he is a Bok. So, but…he is a Kony yes because he is staying here. But people have now been telling me that immediately after I failed the elections, the district just shook, I am telling you. It shook and I am telling you even up to today, people are divided proper. Now they are unable now to put people together, so those who are now fighting them one at a time. We are only waiting...

So when did you decide to go back to the classroom?
I decided to go back in…in September I went to Nairobi and then asked my headquarters to release me to the TSC because the TSC released me to them. Because they had told me in the releasing letter that in case I wanted to go back I could write to them and give them one month's notice. So these fellows when I came back I waited for any development I didn't see any replies…any, any response. So what I did, on the 2nd of this month I went to Nairobi again, to pursue the matter, only for me to find in the office I went that my file had just got there, but without an appointment letter. So I wondered, my colleague told me, “Now what you do, you know my work here is to prepare salary, so can you go and see somebody dealing with management policy here. Floor 17 at Bell-Bottom House at the TSC.”
So I went, I told him I had been away and I wanted to go back because my family is suffering and so on and so forth. He said: “where were you?” I said I was in KNUT but I was dropped so I was still pursuing a case in court. Actually we have a case in court. So this man said now, “It's O.K, write another letter, write your own letter now saying you want to go back.” So I wrote that letter, after which my boss told me he would start me in January. I told him, “aah! What will my family be eating up to January?” He said, “But what was I going to do?” I told him what about those who are on jobs they are closing, what are they going to do? He said he had decided to staff me in January. What I did, I went down to see my Secretary-General Adongo who talked to him, then he asked me to go for a letter. So I went and got the appointment.
Section 15
So which is your school now?

Where I was before I left.

As a...
As a headmaster.

As a headmaster? Ohh, congratulations!

Let me take you back. I hope you don't mind telling me more about the number of your children. You said you had some "outgrowers". What is the trend here, are children born outside wedlock acceptable in a matrimonial home?
Children born outside wedlock are the man's children. With our culture we pay. If it is a girl, If you want her to come and stay with you…even if you don't want, she can even stay with her relative, but you have to pay. For the girls we pay two animals and boys we pay three.

So how many have you brought home?
So they are two. One of them I educated up to form three, then she was unable and she left and married. The other completed form four got a C then some boy impregnated her. I am trying to see if I can get her some employment or on some professional training course. And then that is two. And then I have my own six.

Yes because... You see I am asking this because of the figure you gave me. I mean thirteen children from one wife yet its no long since you married..
Then seven are really mine but three girls, four boys. And then those two make nine isn't it?

And then my wife and myself…that makes eleven. Then I have two…two girls. You see I had many children. There was food, milk and everything on the farm to feed them and that is perhaps why their mother was also very fertile. But brother I now can't manage because of the clashes.

I am sorry Andrew. All the same I thank you for giving me an audience. Thank you once more…
I wish you could have been interviewing me now in my old house before it went into flames during the clashes. You would be viewing TV at the same time and sipping hot water and steaming milk.