For the past decade, 36-year-old Michael Cheruiyot Lemiso has faithfully participated in Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) recruitment exercises.
A 2011 graduate of the National Youth Service (NYS), Lemiso never lost hope despite getting close to joining KDF in the past. He has never missed a recruitment exercise.
On Monday, he joined over 1,500 hopeful youth at Kapsabet Showground. These young men and women endured the scorching sun as they waited for the rigorous exercise.
“There was nothing unusual that I did. I told my wife in the morning that I would be attending the KDF recruitment. I was ready for any fate. After all, I had nothing to lose, but I kept the faith that I would one day become a soldier,” he said.
Armed with his academic documents, recommendations, and a police certificate of good conduct – the basic requirements – Lemiso arrived at the venue at 6.30am. There, he joined a group of youth awaiting instructions from overseeing officers.
“The exercise started at 8am and luckily, I found myself in the middle of three candidates aspiring for one constabulary position. The exercise was not easy; we ran about one kilometre and were taken through a one-hour vigorous matching and flexing before being subjected to medical screening,” he said.
While awaiting laboratory medical results, they completed aptitude tests. Medical screening was the final test to determine their eligibility.
Sitting shirtless a few meters away from the makeshift laboratory tent, Lemiso and three others waited anxiously under the harsh sun.
After two hours, the medical screening concluded, and Lemiso received the green light to finalise the process by providing the necessary details to recruitment officials.
“Joining the military has been my dream since I was a boy. Eventually, it has come to pass. It has always been my prayer, and with persistence and determination, God has enabled me,” he said.
Lemiso completed his KCSE at Lelmokwo High School in 2007, proceeded to NYS in 2009, and finished training in 2010.
He also underwent a nine-month paramilitary training at Gilgil NYS Training College. Later, he pursued a diploma in early childhood education.
“Teaching was never my passion and I did not apply to teach. Instead, I ventured into farming and business to sustain my family,” said Lemiso, a father of two.
He attributed his success to consistency, determination, and discipline. He is set to begin training in two weeks.
Lt Colonel Isaiah Ongesa commended Lemiso’s character, confirming that he met all qualifications and secured the constabulary slot.
“The process was free, transparent, and fair. We found Lemiso to be physically fit with no disciplinary issues. He earned one of the limited constabulary recruit slots,” Lt Colonel Ongesa said.