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African scholars told to research on Ebola and stop relying on the West

By Boniface Gikandi | Published Mon, November 3rd 2014 at 09:10, Updated November 3rd 2014 at 09:14 GMT +3
MKU chairman Simon Gicharu. [PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].

MURANGA COUNTY: Mt Kenya University chairman Simon Gicharu has challenged African scholars to research on the dreaded Ebola disease instead of over relying on their western counterparts to come up with medication.

Mr Gicharu, told the scholars to play their part in enhancing science and technological education instead of relying on the West.

"We should be at the forefront in seeking a cure for Ebola because as universities, we are the drivers of knowledge and we must initiate the processes that will enable Africa harness its potential in science and technology," he said.

Gicharu said scholars can propel the continent to achieve faster development.

"There is no country in the world that has developed without embracing science and technology," he said.

He added that African countries should not allow the West to buy their raw materials, which they then process and sell back to the continent as finished goods.

Gicharu, who was recently awarded a honorary degree in science for his efforts towards promoting science, research and technological education in Kenya and other East African countries explained why he had dedicated the degree to his mother, Alice Wambui.

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He said his mother mentored them and provided a good environment for then to study.

This the mother did although she was illiterate, ensuring Gicharu and his siblings maintained high discipline and were focused in schooling.

Gicharu was recognised for having established Mt Kenya University from scratch, which has continued offering hope to many students who could have missed chances to chase their dreams.

"I managed to go this far following contributions of my mother who despite her illiteracy failed to attend adult literacy lessons in the afternoons to ensure her children had enough to eat when they came from school," said Gicharu in an interview with The Standard.

"As the eldest child in a family of six, my parents tasked me with many daily responsibilities that included taking care of my siblings and feeding the family cow. I experienced many challenges but my parents always assured me that the only hope in overcoming these challenges was through education," he added.

He also dedicated the award to all researchers and innovators at MKU and other institutions of higher learning, saying they are playing a great role in saving the continent from the claws of poverty.

Since MKU was awarded letter of interim authority and later a charter, it has continued recognising efforts made by others by honouring them.

Last year, Dr George Njoroge, a leading pharmacist in Texas in USA was awarded a honorary degree. MKU was established as a technical institute after securing a $220 loan acquired from a local building society that trained thousands of youth before it was issued with the interim authority that transformed to the university.

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