Scholars have a lot to learn from George Magoha

The late Prof George Magoha when he laid a foundation stone at Bomu Secondary School when he was Education CS. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

The late George Omore Magoha was a scholar par excellence, and scaled many heights in the academic agora. Many scholars are known to kowtow to power and easily go on their knees without giving their stand. Most become spineless before power, but Prof Magoha was of a different hue. He could stand to power and convince it on the position he took.

He was happy nurturing young talent. He cherished hard work and could notice one from afar. Once done, Magoha, like a handful professors I know, would go out of his way to lend support to the young talent. He loathed laziness but gave a broad embrace to industrious and committed personalities. Once he trusted somebody, he went out of his way to support and ensure that person felt comfortable in their work.

Rising like a colossus in the academic world, Prof Magoha straddled the academy, leaving his footprints all over the world. His contribution to knowledge needs no gain-saying. He did this privately and publicly. He facilitated learning whenever given the opportunity. Even as a Cabinet Secretary, it was admirable seeing him sit in a class of toddlers.

Academia goes hand in glove with research. Prof Magoha was a prolific researcher. His world of research transcends his area of specialisation. Many years before research took a multi-disciplinary hue, Prof Magoha was already trail-blazing in the approach. Some of his articles in refereed journals attest to this.

Teaching and research alone make scholarly pursuit a dull venture. One needs to also excel in community outreach. Otherwise, the benefits of a scholar to the community is, to say the least, nil. Many scholars perform dismally in community outreach. This was another of Prof Magoha's fortes. He did it in communities where he lived. Many schools and churches benefitted from his good hands.

It is true Prof Magoha was abrasive and once in a while displayed some elements of arrogance. This is in all of us. Why he was different is that he forgot any altercation immediately he left the venue. He did not hold grudges. How I wish we could have a thousand Magoha's in academia, government and opposition.

Today, few scholars would pass the test of tribalism, mediocrity and sleaze. Prof Magoha never entertained these. To him, tribalism, nepotism, sleaze and mediocrity were ills that were to be fought by all means. He led by example in all the positions he held. Many have confirmed that he had no room for pettiness. We have lost a true patriot. As we celebrate the lives and times of this icon, let's strive to emulate him.

Dr Ndaloh teaches at Koitaleel Samoei University College