ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE YOUNG BUU ASSOCIATION

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The achievements of the Young Buu Association can be derived from the terms of its sub-committees. They had specific objectives which were reviewed every year during the Annual General Meetings. The achievements of each sub-committee, therefore, will give an over-view of the achievements of the Association. Read part 1 The history of the Young Buu Association

A) THE EDUCATION SUB-COMMITTEE

Following the impasse between the Pokomo and the Colonial Government on the possible return of the Germans to Kenya after the Second World War resulting in drastic measures being taken by the Methodists against the Pokomo, the Education Sub-Committee of the Young Buu Association came up with the following proposals:

  1. The salaries of the Pokomo teachers who were suspended by the Methodists would be paid by their local branches.
  2. In order to fill the vacuum created by the suspended Pokomo Inspectors, teachers would elect their own inspectors of schools with immediate effect.
  3. In order to equip the schools, all members would contribute 50/- per year towards a fundfor school equipment, boarders’ expenses at Ngao Intermediate School and also, for assisting children from poor families to receive further education.
  4. In order to monitor the progress of each school, there would be school committees whichwould be reporting directly to the Inspector of Schools.
  5. School attendance would be made compulsory to all boys and girls.
  6. In order to increase the number of literate Pokomos, all teachers would offer compulsory adult education classes for members of the Association and also allow non-members to attend classes on voluntary basis.

There is no doubt that the Pokomo took up the challenge with great enthusiasm. They wanted to prove that they could manage the schools without assistance from the Methodists. However, the Association realised that they required a lot of money to run the schools and pay teachers’ salaries. In 1946, the Association contacted the Coast Federation of Workers in Mombasa under Chegge Kibachia, Kenya African Union (KAU), Taita Branch, under James Jeremiah and Eliud Mathu, the first African Nominated Member of the Legislative Council. Eventually, the Government reviewed the situation and decided that:

  • All schools in Tana-River District would come under the control of the Superintendentof the Methodist Missionary Society. This would include the schools in Ngao section which were being administered by the Young Buu Association.
  • Grants-in-Aid for schools in the Ngao section which were suspended would be restored immediately.
  • All the suspended Pokomo teachers and supervisors would be reinstated immediately.
  • The ban on Pokomo children from Ngao Location attending Methodist Intermediate Schools in other areas of the district was lifted with immediate effect.
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Matters reached a climax and to the advantage of the Young Buu Association, when on 20thAugust, 1953, the African District Council passed a unanimous resolution requesting the Government to remove Tana-River schools from the jurisdiction of the Methodist Missionary Society. However, it was not until 1955 that the District Education Officer in charge of Kilifi/Tana-River/Lamu was formally appointed to take charge of all the schools in the three districts through the various District Education Boards.

B) THE HEALTH SUB-COMMITTEE

The closure of the former German hospital at Ngao and its associate dispensaries at the beginning of the Second World War resulted in an alarming high death rate among the Pokomo, particularly among the children. The Health Sub-Committee of the Young Buu Association launched a campaign to improve cleanliness in people’s houses and to keep the villages clean. The traditional doctors and midwives (the wagangana and the madwomari) were mobilised by the Association to assist the locals. Due to the Association’s efforts, the Methodists re- opened the hospital at Ngao in 1951 and provided doctors and general staff.

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C) THE TRADE SUB-COMMITTEE

The Pokomo realised that they had to seriously venture into trade if they ever wanted to strengthen their financial base. The Trade Sub-Committee dealt with this issue at length and eventually, the Association opened two co-operative societies and a hotel at Garsen. In 1946, the Young Buu Association was instrumental in setting up the African Traders Association with the objective of trying to promote the up-coming indigenous African traders in the district. Non-African traders reacted sharply. They complained bitterly to the District Commissioner, falsely accusing the Young Buu Association of being a subversive organisation. That notwithstanding, the Pokomo who had ventured into business did not keep any record pertaining to the loss/profit of their businesses. Coupled with other poor management practices, it was only a matter of time before their businesses collapsed.

D) THE TRANSPORT SUB-COMMITTEE

The Young Buu Association had always wanted to buy a lorry to transport African produce and passengers. This would reduce the transport problem in the district, and more important, it would reduce the dependence on the Arab/Swahili traders for transport. The Young Buu Association bought an old second-hand lorry in 1949 which, together with the necessary repairs to keep it mobile, cost over ₤100 more than the cost of a brand new lorry available in the market at the time. In their endeavour to excel in the transport business, the Association invested blindly.

Efforts by the local District Commissioner to advise the Association to keep proper books of account so as to monitor the performance of the lorry fell on deaf ears. The lorry was put on the road without being repaired or maintained. In 1950, the District Commissioner was forced to order the descript lorry off the road until it was properly repaired. The Association resorted to collection of funds from its members in an effort to repair the lorry. The District Commissioner gave authority for the collection of the funds on condition that the accounts of the Associationwere audited by the Government to ensure that the funds so collected were not misapplied or misappropriated. The leaders of the Young Buu Association lost interest after this and the transport business collapsed.

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E) THE AGRICULTURE SUB-COMMITTEE

The Agriculture Sub-Committee was given the task of teaching the Pokomo modern methods of agriculture so as to improve crop production. It was no mean task especially taking into consideration that the Pokomo were still using the traditional methods of cultivation. However, in 1951 the district experienced some severe floods. The Pokomo took advantage of the subsiding floods to plant rice. Following the abundance of flood waters, the Pokomo recorded one of the heaviest harvests in the history of the district.

F) THE GENERAL PURPOSES SUB-COMMITTEE

The General Purposes Sub-Committee dealt with matters that were not specifically catered forunder the first five sub-committees. However, the Young Buu Association was concerned that there was an increasing number of uneducated people who were appointed chiefs or members of the Local Native Council yet there were a number of educated Pokomos who could have taken these positions. The Association also wanted a Senior Chief who would be in charge of the whole district. These fears were sparked off by the dismissal of Chief Stephano Ibrahim Kiozi who had helped the Young Buu Association to be registered. He was dismissed for negligence of duty and replaced by Mikael Kirungu Samson in August, 1950. On the other hand, the District Commissioner was categorical that appointment of chiefs was a prerogative of the Government. It was clear, therefore, that the Association had started veering into politics.

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Edward M. Yesse is a Pokomo from Ngao. He was born on 18th December, 1957. He passed through Ngao Primary School, Tarasaa High School and the University of Nairobi where he graduated with an Upper Second Class Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Public Administration in 1986. In addition, he has a First Division Diploma in Constitutional Law and a First Division Diploma in Parliamentary Institutions and Procedure from the Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies, New Delhi, India, which he obtained in 1990. He is also a Parliamentary Fellow from the same Institute. He passed the Administrative Officers' Examination administered by the Public Service Commission in 1990. He obtained a Diploma in Business Management from the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) in 2003. He attended numerous other courses. He is currently pursuing his MBA. He opted for an early retirement in June, 2013 as Regional Manager with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) due to personal reasons. E-mail: edwardmyesse@yahoo.com Mobile No: 0722647327 or 0733860825

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