First students finally report at University named after freedom hero -Koitaleel

Professor Gedion Misoi (second left) and Professor Lishenga Josphat (right) with other senior lecturers at Koitalel Samoei University in Nandi. [Peter Ochieng/Standard]
Nandi leader Koitalel arap Samoei is often described as a seer of legendary repute, who struck fear in the hearts of British colonialists.

But one thing he could not have foreseen is that 114 years after his death, an edifice in the heart of Nandi County would proudly bear his name.

Koitalel led an 11-year resistance against British invasion of Nandi land before he was allegedly gunned down by the imperialists during a peace meeting in 1905 in the present day Nandi Hills.

For years there has been a push to establish a learning institution in his honour, with proponents keenly aware of the link between liberation from colonialism and freedom from ignorance.

National hero

In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta laid a foundation stone in Nandi Hills for the construction of a university named after the national hero.

And on Monday, Koitaleel Samoei University, a constituent college of the University of Nairobi, opened its gates to receive its first batch of students.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

The university, which is the first in Nandi County, has rolled out programmes in education and business with more than 100 students reporting to start learning.

Acting Principal Gideon Misoi could not hide his delight as he welcomed the learners drawn from far-off counties such as Kilifi, Bomet, Vihiga, Kericho and Kakamega.

The students were placed in the institution that is located in Mosoriot through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.

“My first day at this college means a great deal. It was my dream to go to college and pursue higher education, most importantly in the University of Nairobi. I love it here. The environment and people are welcoming,” said Nasra Ahmed from Kilifi County.

Gilbert Kimutai, who reported to the university at 3am, said he was delighted to be admitted to an institution far away from home which would help him expand his network of friends. Kimutai reported early to beat long registration queues.

Prof Misoi told The Standard that preparations had been completed and they were expecting about 300 students this first semester.

“We are ready to go, with classrooms, library and ICT facilities in place for our first cohort of students. Plans for the establishment of the proposed main campus in Nandi Hills are ongoing,” he said.

Misoi revealed that pioneer courses will include Bachelor of Education in Arts and Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) as well as Diploma in ECDE in the School of Education.

Students, the principal added, have also been selected for Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business Administration in the School of Business.

Misoi said a skeleton staff had been deployed to the institution from the University of Nairobi to oversee commencement of programmes, and that more officials would be hired as the institution grows.

“The university is up and fully operational with the first group of learners. Infrastructural facilities have been refurbished at Mosoriot TTC to meet the students’ demands,” said Julius Melly, Tinderet MP and chair of the parliamentary committee on Education.

Mr Melly said they hoped the university would open up the region to greater opportunities in business and access to higher education.

“We expect an increase in the population and business people should consider putting up students hostels and residential houses for staff around the institution,” said Melly.

The residents have been eagerly waiting for the arrival of the students since the university was gazetted last September by the Ministry of Education.

“We welcome the latest development and urge the Government to expand facilities so that more students are enrolled in future,” said David Sulo, a resident.

Family legacy

Mr Sulo, who said he was a descendant of Koitalel, lauded the Government for honouring the family’s legacy by opening an avenue for employment and other economic opportunities to residents of Nandi and beyond.

He added that his clan was glad the institution was up and running ahead of Koitalel’s 114th commemoration ceremony that will be held in Nandi Hills on October 19.

A few years ago, the Government constructed a Sh58 million mausoleum in Nandi Hills where community artefacts are kept. These include Koitalel’s three leadership batons that were returned from a British museum.

Nandi becomes the latest county to have a public university. Neighbouring Uasin Gishu has two main public universities – Moi and University of Eldoret – as well as hosting the campuses of several public and private universities.

Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

Get the latest summary of news in your email every morning. Subscribe below

* indicates required
Koitaleel Samoei UniversityKoitalel arap Samoei