To transform lives through ecumenism, capacity building, advocacy and service delivery.
One Church; United in Faith and Mission Witnessing to Jesus Christ and Transforming Lives.
In pursuing its Christian calling, the Council shall uphold:
I was appointed as an Assistant Chief on 10th June 2015. During CCMP trainings, I had been empowered to strengthen existing community structures, and if need be, create new ones.
When I took up my duties as an Assistant Chief, I found active Peace Committees and Village Elders’ Forum. I strengthened these. I also worked with them to establish vibrant ‘Nyumba Kumi Initiatives’.
Ngaru sub location has been divided into 8 community units, with each unit having 2 elders.
From the word go, I took it upon myself to emphasise to the elders during the Wednesday meetings that they are the experts of their situations. Upon receiving this message, each one of them was eager to share information with me.
I came to understand that most of them have served more than 3 regimes of Assistant Chiefs in a span of 10 years. Sadly, during this period, no one has recognised them as experts.
In order to practice my message, in each burial, I try my best to ensure that they address the mourners. That day, we plan it in such a way that we are available the entire day in our official attire, and be with the bereaved family from the mortuary, through burial ceremony to the grave. The village elders are usually fascinated by this gesture.
As a team, we saved Kes. 1000 each and bought our own uniforms. This was their idea. Even the writing on the t-shirts it is them who coined it. They appointed a committee of three elders and tasked them to brand the t-shirts. Understandably, I have not heard anywhere in Kenya where village elders have their own uniform. The elders have pledged to be wearing the uniform in all official functions.
The elders are now so motivated that they attend all the locational meetings. There is this day when I called them for one hour meeting, and within a short notice, they all showed up in uniform – one of them had to send a boda boda rider to his house to bring him uniform! They are even considering influencing their counterparts in other sub locations to come up with a uniform for the entire locations.
By the time I took office, illicit brew was prevalent in every village. The elders were somehow pessimistic and were not so sure about my seriousness to do away with illicit brew. Their pessimism was based on the fact that earlier administrators had allowed themselves to be compromised by the brewers, such that they would come arrest the brewers and then after being given ‘something small’ they would set them free.
Cognisant of this reality, I tasked them to be on the forefront of the entire operation such that they would go and investigate on their own, and after they are certain, they would call me to the scene of crime. Upon arrival, we would write the statement jointly and then hand over the suspects to the police. To this day, I can say they have become experts at writing the statements, which have led to the suspects successfully being prosecuted. Within a year, we no longer grapple with issues of illicit brew as a community. Some brewers have been forced to migrate to other sub locations.
Combating illicit brews and crime has not been easy. There is this day we confiscated six sacks of bang. The peddlers offered me Ksh. 200,000 as a bribe but I did not take it. The OCS was astonished and exclaimed that he has never seen a sub chief seize that amount of bang.
Initially, a few elders used to collude with culprits who are their friends or relatives. When we organise for an operation, some elders would hint that to their accomplices and thus avoid us. However, we are so in touch with the community such that we would receive information from all corners of the community.
Transforming the elder’s mind-sets
We nominated one of the elders to be trained by NCCK in collaboration with NACADA on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. I have also trained all the elders on resource mobilisation. As a result, the elders have mobilised their own resources and organized a locational level training for all the 40 elders. The elders developed the order paper and assigned duties amongst themselves. The trainer was the elder who we had nominated to attend the training.
As much as the elders are volunteers, they incur lots of communication and travel expenses in the line of service. Yet no one has complained. In fact, they carry me on their motor bikes and call me frequently when organising for operations. Sometimes, the elders come to my place as early as 6:00 am to update me on the status of their units.
Our working relationship has blossomed in less than a year. Bearing in mind that we will not be together forever in our official capacities, we have come up with a plan to establish a community based organisation dubbed “Heroes Ngaru Sub Location CBO” which will be our vehicle to advance our community service endeavours. Through this organisation, we intend to build the capacity of self-help groups in our community to address the prevalent issues of Drugs and Substance Abuse, GBV, boundary disputes, family conflicts, and out of school children.
Bethroser Gaconde; Assistant Chief, Ngaru Sub location