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Uhuru leads leaders in eulogizing scholar Prof Juma

By Graham Kajilwa | Jan 5th 2018 | 3 min read
Professors carry the casket with the remains of proffesor Calestous Juma during the requiem mass at Holy family Basilca on January 4, 2018 [Beverlyne Musili| Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday described Calestous Juma as an exemplary scholar who put Kenya on the global map for his innovations.

Uhuru led Government officials and scholars in eulogising Prof Juma during a requiem mass at the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi.

Juma, who died on December 15 last year after a long battle with cancer, was a professor at Havard University in the United States.

In June, he was listed among the ‘2017 Most Reputable People on Earth.’ The list was compiled by a South African consulting firm.

Juma will be buried in his hometown of Busia County tomorrow.

Yesterday, leaders, friends and family gathered to pay tribute to the scholar for his humility, generosity and pursuit of excellence through science and innovation.

The President said Juma’s work as a pioneer in innovation not only transformed the country but also the continent and the world as a whole.

He said Juma was an exemplary scholar who not only strived to do things differently and better but also showed others first hand how it could be done.

“Our words and consolation to the family and friends cannot match his achievements. We all should emulate the examples he set,” said Uhuru.

The President said Juma’s rise from a teacher trained at Egoji Teachers College in Meru County, from where he graduated in 1974, to a professor at Harvard, was evidence of power through persistence.

He said Kenyans should learn to live as he did - pursuing change through education and institutional transformation.

Uhuru said throughout his life, Juma mentored many generations he worked with.

 Well-lived life

“He (Juma) lived a life of humility and service to his country, continent and God. Indeed, it was an exceptional and well-lived life.”

The President was joined by former vice president Moody Awori, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Environment CS Judi Wakhungu.

Others were Busia Senator Amos Wako, Budalang’i MP Raphael Wanjala, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Peter Mbithi and University of Eldoret Chancellor Judith Mbula, who also chairs the Chancellors Committee.

“Prof Juma used knowledge as a gift for all. Let us all learn from him, to use our knowledge for the common good,” said Prof Mbula.

Juma’s eulogy was read by Justice Jackton Ojwang, who described him as a “role model for his integrity and dedication to problem solving”.

“For all his colleagues around the world, his optimism and sense of humour showed the way to work for a better future. He was very much a practitioner teacher,” said Mr Ojwang.

Juma’s widow, Alison Field-Juma, remembered him as a person who stood for virtues and was keen to develop plans and policies that would have a global impact.

Loved teaching

He loved to teach, she said, and anyone who attended his lectures easily noticed that.

She said even on his sick bed, Juma never stopped spreading love and showing care for others, including his own doctors, through his infectious smile.

“In his last days, he spent time sending text messages to his doctors and his mail was full of good wishes. His life was so rich. He touched many people. He has left a huge gap,” said Ms Juma.

Born in June 1953, Juma is celebrated as the founder of the African Centre for Technology Studies (Acts), the first of its kind in the country dealing with policy research to gather sound scientific and technological information in order to assist in decision making.

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