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Revealed: Why Michael Joseph declined gift from Karachuonyo elders

by Paul Nyongesa
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On August 31, 2023, Michael Joseph, one of the longest-serving executives at Safaricom, surprised the elders in Karachuonyo with an unexpected response. He declined a gift from the senior citizens during his visit to Kanyamfwa Primary School, where he was handing over renovated classrooms on behalf of the Mpesa Foundation.

During the event, the senior citizens presented Mr. Joseph with a ramb, a traditional gesture of gratitude for the community work his organization had undertaken. However, he respectfully declined the gift, prompting another person to accept it on his behalf.

Mr. Joseph serves as a trustee at the Mpesa Foundation, which received a proposal from the community to renovate Kanyamfwa Primary School. The institution, established in 1922 by Christian missionaries, needed extensive repairs and rehabilitation. The Mpesa Foundation invested Sh 16 million in the project, including replacing roofs on 10 classrooms, refurbishing an administration block, and enhancing various structures. The foundation also constructed a new ablution block, erected a fence, and equipped the school’s kitchen.

Accompanied by Stephen Kiptinness, a trustee of the Safaricom Foundation, Mr. Joseph officially handed over the rehabilitated school during a ceremony attended by Homa Bay Education Executive Martin Opere.

After the ceremony, community elders expressed their desire to show gratitude to Mr. Joseph and his team for their support to the school. Following Luo tradition, they intended to present him with a ramb as a token of appreciation. However, Mr. Joseph declined the offer, citing logistical challenges of transporting the animal back, as he had arrived by helicopter. This message was conveyed by newspaper columnist Jaindi Kisero, who was present at the event.

The ramb was then passed to another individual. Nonetheless, in a symbolic gesture of appreciation, Mr. Joseph posed for a photograph alongside the elders with the ramb in front of them. He even captured an image of the animal on his mobile phone, commemorating the memorable moment.

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