By Gift Briton 

Professor Emeritus Ratemo Michieka, a renowned scholar and researcher, referred to as the ‘father of weed science research’ in Kenya, officially launched his autobiography in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

Prof. Emeritus Michieka is an environmental scientist specializing in weed science is the current chairman of the National Research Fund(NRF).

The book: Walking the Promise, highlights among other things, Prof. Michieka’s outstanding contributions in the field of science and technology not only in Kenya but across Eastern Africa, including his personal life experiences, quality of education, lifestyle, and experiences within the corridors of leading public institutions.

In the book, he also differentiates between management and leadership and provides ways of improving the quality of education in tertiary institutions.

Prof. Ratemo Michieka during the book launch

Prof. Emeritus Michieka has served in several capabilities including being the Founding Vice Chancellor at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(JKUAT) and immediate former chair of the Africa Scientific Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC).

He previously chaired the Inter University Council of East Africa(IUCEA), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute(KARI), and Kenyatta University Council, among many more.

“The motivation behind penning Walking the Promise was inspired by my intention to share not only the successes but also the challenges and adversities I have encountered in my life experiences,” Prof. Emeritus Michieka said during the launch which took place on 17th August.

He underscored that through his book, he aspired for the education system in Kenya to learn from past mistakes and strive to produce high-quality graduates.

Although it has been said that the country is churning out thousands of half-baked graduates yearly from tertiary institutions, Prof. Michieka writes that this can be corrected, adding that “We really have to think about mentorship and bring out quality graduates.”

During the event, speakers took the opportunity to acknowledge the distinguished scholar’s substantial contributions to academia within the country, his impactful research in environmental science, and his invaluable mentorship in leadership.

The keynote speech by Prof. Chacha-Nyaigotti-Chacha, Chairman of Commission for University Education (CUE), highlighted how Prof. Emeritus Michieka’s commitment to his students has created opportunities for growth in the academic realm.

“We must recognize your enthusiasm to acquire knowledge by sacrificing even the most lucrative of jobs to be able to make profound influence in matters leadership and innovation by being the guardian of values in our education system,” Prof Chacha notes.

Former Chief Justice, David Maraga who referred to the professor as a great human said that the Prof. Michieka is among the people he leans on for advice.

“You are a great inspiration to quite a number of people, particularly when they see that you have served the country for very many years yet you are still there for the community,” Maraga said.

Former Chief Justice David Maraga at the book launch

Dr. Margaret Karembu, Director, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) Africa region, said that the work Prof. Michieka had done in mentorship was not in vain, adding that he has made so many of people including herself who they are today by encountering them either at the universities or at workplaces.

Professor David Ngugi said, “The book highlights the humanity in him. When he came to the University of Nairobi in the department of crop science he started the weed science program which eventually became a department. I can confidently say that he is the father of weed science research in Kenya.”

Additional information by Vanessa Akoth