Moses Kimenchu, an Administration Police officer in Murang’a, has been fighting to free young people from alcohol and substance abuse
He walks into a classroom. His topic, a subject that perhaps parents and teachers have avoided talking about. And as a result, young people are left at the mercy of the world.
But, for now, his Administration Police uniform is not intimidating. After all, he has become a familiar figure. Driven by passion to save young people from alcohol and drug menace in Murang’a, Central Kenya, Moses Kimenchu, has for the past five years been doing intensive campaign to create awareness on the vice.
He stands out among his colleagues in this noble mission and was among officers who feted for distinguished service. He has won various awards among them a commendation letter from Deputy Inspector General of Police in 2014, distinction certificate from the Inspector General in 2016 and most recently, Best in Extra Mile Award by Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
The officer says besides providing security to the people around him, he found it necessary to give them information that could help them change their lives for the better.
In his outstanding campaign, he has been visiting primary and secondary schools. “Since I joined the service in 2002, I have seen many people fall into the trap of drug addiction.
I felt that arresting this menace before it happens by targeting the youth could go a long way in solving the crisis,” he says. But perhaps it is the effects of alcoholism that he experienced first-hand in his family that buoyed his zeal.
“Growing up I saw many people wast away and others die from drug abuse. In my family, one of my brothers dropped out of school and went to Mombasa where he became a drug addict and rehabilitating him was difficult.
Also, at one time, my parents separated for a while and I went to live with my uncle who was a perpetual drunkard. He used to sell the family livestock and squander all the money on alcohol. This made me hate drunkards,” Kimenchu reveals.
Born in 1982 in Kirigicha, Tharaka Nithi, the fifth born in a family of 10 siblings, he was given the first name Musa, which he later converted to Moses.
He started his education at Kirigicha Primary School in 1990, before joining Gaciongo Secondary School and Thura Boys High School in Meru, where he sat for his KCSE in 2001.
From his childhood, Kimenchu always wanted to be a teacher as according to him, the profession was held in high regard by society. But after high school, he could not further his education due to financial constraints.
He became a shoeshiner at the local shopping centre, a job he did for two years. While in his business, Kimenchu became friends with a provincial administration officer who advised him to go for police recruitment and luckily, he succeeded.
A growing concern
Over the past 14 years he has been in service, he has grown to love his job. Besides the normal duties as a police officer he has established an organisation dubbed Inua Youth Kenya to help cater for the young people who have fallen in to the trap of alcohol and drug addiction.
During the interaction sessions Kimenchu says he discovered that drug abuse is rampant among young people even the schoolgoing children attributing it to lack of awareness.
He has built a relationship with the children and they open up to him the dark side of their lives and the reasons driving them to use drugs. “I only need to build confidence in children and they open up.
They share their experiences and we get amicable solutions where possible,” he adds. Kimenchu also extends his hand to his colleagues offering guidance and counselling sessions aimed at creating self-awareness and managing stress.
According to Kimenchu, police officers are also vulnerable to stress and in most cases, they indulge in alcohol and substance abuse to suppress the pressure. “Many people think police officers are stress-resistant, but digging deep into their lives, one realises the agony they go through.
Affected officers perform poorly and some of them end up being dismissed from their duties due to consistent misconduct,” he reveals.
Kimenchu also points out that despite some officers finding it difficult to manage stress and control their drinking habit, they shy away from going to a rehabilitation centre fearing for their job security and stigmatisation from their colleagues and society.
The married father of two says his wife has been supportive. “My career is very demanding, and you can be called to duty any time. But I often create time to be with them,” he adds.