Jessie Kamau (in glasses) during his time as the Senior Forester of South Marmanet Forest Station. With him are then DFO, Mr. Ben Wamugunda and Joseph Mutie the Assistant DFO.
Jesse Njoroge Kamau has been described as an “officer and a gentleman” by those who worked under his watch. He was a man at great ease with his superiors, peers and juniors. During his tenure in Nyahururu Station, Mr. Wamugunda, a retired forester who had the privilege of working under him remembers that the then Chief Conservator of Forests was a regular visitor to Jesse’s house as were many junior staff who all sought his counsel.
Having been one of the first African to join the Colonial Forest Department in a position of responsibility, he acted as a beacon of hope for many young Africans who now believed that it was possible to attain positions of responsibility in the then revered On Her Majesty’s Service (OHMS) the predecessor of the post independence Civil Service.
For someone who had started his service in 1938 and served for 42 years until 1980 it is not surprising that numerous foresters who would rise to be future Chief Conservators and Provincial Forest Officers were mentored under his very watch. It will be well remembered that Mzee Njoroge was the first African District Forest Officer and held the EST No 0001.
His forestry service started in September 1, 1938 when he was employed by Forest Department (OHMS) as a Forest Ranger at Maji Mazuri, he served at Naivasha, Timboroa and Londiani Forest Stations until 1960.
In 1961 he was promoted to be an Acting Forester and transferred to Esageri Forest in Baringo District. In 1963 he was transferred to Molo Forest as a Forester. In 1966 he was transferred to Sorget Forest Station and promoted to Senior Forester 1 and worked in this capacity up to his retirement in 1980 at Nyahururu South Marmanet Forest Station.
During his burial on 10th June droves of retired and serving forester and colleagues from his early days congregated in his home where Assistant HOC Mau, Mr. Abon’go represented the KFS Director.
For a man who spent so much time around forests and trees, it was only befitting that as he was laid to rest in Gogar Farm near Turi in Molo that his family and close friends would plant numerous trees around his grave as a honour in a manner he would have approved.
The late Mzee Jesse Njoroge Kamau was born at the Escarpment, Lari Division in 1918. In 1931 – 1935 he attended Matathia Independent School up to elementary level after which he undertook several training courses including British Tutorial Courses (B.T.C) and Forestry.
In 1936-1937 he was a Teacher at Githirioni Primary School. Early 1938 he moved to Kereita Forest as a clerk. Same year he moved to Mr. Lights Farm in Molo as a supervisor.
Despite being a civil servant, Mzee Njoroge held various social and developmental positions amongst being the B.O.G chairman at several schools in Rift Valley. After retirement he moved to his Gogar Farm in Turi, Molo where he has been farming.
He was a hardworking and obedient person and was very helpful to his parents especially taking care of the family flock. He has left a widow Mrs. Hannah Wambui Muiruri and 12 children, 12 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. May the almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace.
Report by Raphael Mworia & Lydiah Ogada