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BY Mukurima X Mukurima.

You all know Daniel Karaba. He was the first man to be elected Kirinyaga Senator under the new constitution.

Let me tell you something else about Senator Daniel Karaba.

In the mid-90s Daniel Karaba was a largely unknown name in the administration of secondary schools. He was then thumbing pieces of chalk-like Wamala in the Burdens-at a school called Njega secondary, located a few miles East of Baricho Kirinyaga County.

Then one day the transfer window of secondary school heads opened, and Daniel Karaba was transferred to the then Central Province academic giant Kianyaga Boys High school. 

This transfer became the talk of the then Kirinyaga District. You may recall Francis Sigei as the then Kirinyaga District Commissioner. People wondered if Karaba would be a good fit, more so in instilling good discipline in a school which in spite of a remarkable record of academic excellence, had a poor discipline reputation.

Just to be sure we are on the same page, students who were in high school then, are the wababa today!

At Kianyaga Boys, Karaba encountered boys with egos bigger than my ears. The school’s academic dominance in Kirinyaga had helped create little demi-gods, evidenced by their rebellious attitude. Their countenance and demeanor towards teachers left a lot to be desired. Stories are shared of how teachers had to first ask the boys for permission before giving any assignment. Karaba knew he had to make changes. The boys were not ready. 

Mr. Karaba’s mission was to make Kianyaga Boys not only a school molding careers of the boys at an early age. He was keen on developing men who would later become frontiers of social change. To this end, started to introduce changes. 

The boys were rattled. They decided to teach Karaba a lesson. They would go on strike and not return until he was out of the school.

The strike was to take place around June and as most of you know, the cold weather in June pierces to the intestines. In addition, it was foggy and misty. Nothing was visible, not even common sense. 

On a Thursday morning, word reached Karaba that the boys were planning to go on strike the following Friday evening. In his characteristic calm demeanor, he smiled, knowing too well what Socrates said when addressing the Greek congress: “Muthuri aikareire jungwa onaga baraya gukira kibîî kibaicete mûti igûrû” (an old man sitting on a stool has a better vision than a young boy perched on a tree). 

Mr. Karaba summoned the school matron and asked her to prepare boiled green maize (mitungo). He also got in touch with his Kabare girls counterpart, whereupon he challenged the school to a ‘debate’ to be held the next day (Friday) from midday. 

The challenge was accepted. Kabare girls spoke English of the nose. They imagined making minced meat out of the boys!

Fate was temped. For those who are not in the know, whenever Kianyaga boys would sight Kabare girls, where common sense was lacking, miraculously, reason would prevail! No wonder Shaggy in his song ‘Strength of a woman’ wonders who created women!

It would not be a surprise to find a form four boy with beards from here to kingdom come lost for words on meeting a girl from Kabare. 

Those girls, I am told, were beautiful. In fact, this is where one student coined the word “kamacau” to refer to a beautiufl girl! (I am told the bilateral talks with Kabare girls would a few years later collapse after the emergence of hardline negotiators from the north-west side called Ngiriambu girls).

The next day, Friday, at around mid-day, two buses arrived at Kianyaga high school’s compound carrying these special guests. They were directed to the school’s dining room where the ‘debate’ was to take place. 

As if following a script, Karaba went to the form three and form four classes and alerted the lads there was a bilateral negotiation taking place between Kianyaga and Kabare and that the boys should go witness this auspicious occasion in the dining room! 

There was a commotion as every boy wanted to be the first to get to the dining hall. With girls, you have to take every chance. Even being the first to show up. 

My friend, I am told there are two things to help defeat shaitani! A beautiful woman, and boiled green maize. No sooner did the boys sight Kabare girls, and green maize, than they forgot their evil plans for that night! The boys and the girls interacted and exchanged notes, perhaps about nothing, for close to four hours. 

This man Karaba went on to head Kagumo High school through its finest hour. 

There are about five categories where you can place people based on how they react in presence of a conflict. Daniel Karaba falls in category 1, which I call “ACS.” (A Conflict Star)

Conflict Stars remain calm amidst conflict. They do not overreact and look for ways to creatively solve the conflict at hand.

The Kenyan DAILY POST.

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