The Rotary Club of Mombasa Central recently donated a 5-ton consignment of books and assorted reading materials to officials of Rong’e Juu Community Library, aimed at boosting the area’s education standards.
The donation comes shortly in the wake of the recent publication of the 2013 KACE examination results which dramatically confirmed the spiraling fall of education standards in Taita Taveta County in general. The County was poorly ranked among the bottom 10, alongside Lamu, Wajir, Garissa, Kwale, Kilifi, Isiolo, Mombasa and Kiambu. Samburu topped the list of best performing Counties, followed by Siaya, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Transnzoia, Bomet, Kisumu, Busia, Embu and Uasin Gishu Counties.
In December 2013, the Taita Taveta County Government appointed a Task Force to inquire into the double declining standards of education in the County’s Primary and Secondary Schools, as a direct consequence of the disastrous performance by the County Schools.
Symbolically, the County Government’s timely gesture has not only acknowledged the acute education problem but will, also, go a long way towards focusing and investing the County’s resources in the much-needed reforms, and improvement of the education sector.Incidentally, Taita Taveta Governor, Eng. John Mtuta Mrutu was a long-standing member of the Rotary Club of Mombasa Central led by Chairman Rohit Chudasama . Other active Club members include Dr. Mark Solomon of the Coast General Hospital, Mombasa.
The Library Project Committee whose architectural plans, drawn by grandson and namesake Wilson Mwanyambo Nyange currently await formal approval by the Taita Taveta County Government.
Significantly, the Project Committee has resolved to name the Community Library in honor of the late Wilson Mwanyumba Nyange who passed away on November 7, 1982 aged 53. He served as a Mombasa Municipal Councilor between 1969 and 1974. He is survived by his wife Eunice Kulola Mwanyumba and five children-Eric Mwanyumba, Jardine Mwangeka, Duncan Mwanyumba, Pamela Wakesho Okoth and Ronald Ngala Mwanyumba. Eunice Kulola is the current Rong’e Juu Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Chairlady and a past member of Mwatate CDF Committee during the tenure of Hon Caliste Mwatela.
Remembered by retired Anglican Reverend, Canon Peter Mwakio, as a great footballer during their Primary days, the late Wilson Mwanyumba was born in 1929 to the late Nyange Waduu and Wakesho Nyange of Parinyi Village, adjacent to Mwasere Girls Secondary School, Rong’e Kati Location. He attended Kighombo Intermediate School and was taught by, among others, the late Dishan Mwasere after whom Mwasere Girls Secondary School, Kighombo, is named. His contemporaries at the Intermediate School were Reverend Peter Mwakio who currently lives in Mkwachunyi Village, Voi Division and, also, Voi City’s former Mayoress, “Lady Dynamite” Joan Mjomba.
Secondary School Drop-out
Although the late Wilson Mwanyumba was successfully enrolled in Shimo-La-Tewa Secondary School in the mid 40s, he later dropped out in Form three, due to lack of School fees. His contemporaries in Secondary School then were Hon. Eliud T. Mwamunga, the former Member of Parliament for Voi Constituency and former Cabinet Minister.
The late Wilson Mwanyumba initially joined the Colonial Service as an Agricultural Extension Officer in the Department of Agriculture. Subsequently, he worked at several stations within the Coast Province, including Malindi, Kilifi, Shimba Hills and Wundanyi. While in Malindi, he was involved in the establishment of Gede Settlement Scheme. Later, while in Kilifi, he was involved in the establishment of Mtwapa Settlement Scheme. He also participated in the development of Shimba Hills Settlement Scheme.
Trade Union Politics
Having quit the civil service in the early 1960s, the late Wilson Mwanyumba ventured into trade union politics, ending up being elected, briefly, as the General Secretary of the Dock Workers Union, Mombasa. Although he had ousted veteran trade unionist Hon. Denis Akumu from the giant Port Union in September 1965, his own tenure was however short-lived, as he himself was subsequently dislodged in February 1966 by the late Juma Boy who later went on to become not only the Secretary-General of the giant Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) but, also, member of Parliament for Matuga.
After quitting trade union politics, the late Wilson Mwanyumba tried his hand in business, doubling up at one time, as an insurance agent under the banner of the British American Insurance Company Limited based in Mombasa. In business, he registered and operated a security company known as “Pioneer Security Organization” which was later converted by his sons, to Pioneer Investigators Company Limited specializing, exclusively, in private investigations.
Mombasa Municipal Councilor
In 1969, the late Wilson Mwanyumba became a Councilor representing Shimanzi electoral Ward. There after, his personal contribution towards the improvement of education within Mombasa and elsewhere is well documented, as he became a member of the Star of the Sea Secondary School Board, alongside other members like former Voi City Mayoress Mama Joan Mjomba. In his capacity as an elected Councilor, he assisted many destitute families, without religious or tribal bias, to get education bursaries and other scholarships.
Political Party Stalwart
In recognition of the late Wilson Mwanyumba’s political organizational skills, he was elected, in 1972, as KANU Organizing Secretary, Mombasa Branch<strong, then led by the late Hon. Shariff Nassir. The political comrades-in-arms, however, later fell out in 1975, when the late Wilson Mwanyumba joined the rival KANU faction led by then Mombasa mayor, the late Councilor John Mambo. The Mambo-led grouping was eventually out-foxed by the Shariff Nassir-led faction.
Rong’e Farmers Co-operative Society
In 1975, the late Wilson Mwanyumba, being a member of Rong’e Farmers Co-operative Society started in the late 30s, committed his personal signature for a loan advanced to the Society by the Industrial Development Corporation, ICDC, when no one else dared to do so, in fear of dire personal financial consequences, in case of a default. The Rong’e Farmers Co-op Society Building stands tall next to Teita Distributors Building owned by Voi City’s Ashok Anand Bhadresa family along Postal Road, as a proud testimony to the late Wilson Mwanyumba’s bravado.
Retirement and Early Demise
The late Wilson Mwanyumba retired to his rural Rong’e Juu, Maghoro home in 1980, where he enjoyed doing farming and giving advice to his Community over numerous vexing social and personal issues. He was subsequently elected as the Locational Development Chairman, a post he held until his demise in Voi Hospital on November 7, 1982.
Wilson Mwanyumba Foundation
In further recognition of the late Wilson Mwanyumba’s spirited performance against many odds, it is the family’s desire to establish a Foundation in his memory, aimed at promoting both early child hood education and adult education. Despite having dropped out of secondary School, the late Wilson Mwanyumba, nevertheless, managed to send all his children to High School, four of whom attained basic University education and beyond. His eldest son, Eric Mwanyumba-a quantity Surveyor, holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering, with a major in Project Management from Concordia University, Montreal and is the immediate past Director of Housing Development Department, Mombasa Municipal Council. Jardine Mwangeka, an Administrator and motivational speaker, is the current Chief Executive of the Celebral Palsy Society of Kenya, CPSK, while Rotarian Duncan Mwanyumba is a practicing Advocate of the High Court of Kenya currently based in Voi City and a former Defense Attorney in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ICTR, in Arusha. The late Sephat Mwalughongo Mwanyumba, who passed away in 1998, was a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. He was a Lands Adjudication Officer based in Kilgoris at the time of his demise.
The idea of setting up the Wilson Mwanyumba Memorial Library was not only to celebrate the late Wilson Mwanyumba’s 30th Anniversary since his demise, but, also, to herald the proposed Foundation’s overall objectives of boosting education standards through cultural, social and other historical research.
Stake holders of the Wilson Mwanyumba Memorial Library Project include the residents of not only Rong’e Ward and Mwatate Constituency but, also, of the entire Taita Taveta County, whose fallen education standards it is intended partly to up-lift. The Library Project is modeled on the Mary Parch Turnbull Memorial Library Project in Werugha built by private funds from the family of Mwasi and Connie Nyatta, for the benefit of the Werugha Community. Like the Werugha Project, the Wilson Mwanyumba Memorial Library Project also hopes to get its future staff and managerial support from the Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) in perpetuity.
Voi City, April 2014
Duncan Mwanyumba is a practicing Advocate of the High Court of Kenya currently based in Voi City, Coast Province, and a member of the Rotary Club of Voi.