From Distinguished Army Doctor to 3-Term MP

  • Photo of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in Somalia.
    Photo of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in Somalia.
    Telegraph
  • Many who know Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu know him to be a soft-spoken politician currently serving his third term in the National Assembly (2007- date).

    Under the soft underbelly, however, the Ford Kenya Secretary-General has an armour of steel that has seen him serve close to eight years in the military before teaching Medicine in the university, and finally joining politics.

    Speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke on Friday, April 10, Simiyu revealed that while growing up he had always harboured dreams of being either a doctor or a soldier.

    "I served in the military in the 80s. Growing up, I knew that if I had not become a doctor, I probably would have joined the military, so I thought to go and serve my term there but as a medical doctor," Simiyu recounted.

    Eseli Simiyu speaks during a discussion on AMLive NTV on December 10, 2019.
    Eseli Simiyu speaks during a discussion on AM Live NTV on December 10, 2019.
    Daily Nation

    Simiyu told Kenyans.co.ke that the period during which he served in the military was considered relatively peaceful, but played coy on some of the combat missions he participated in.

    "We are governed by military secret oath so I cannot say what or who we were combating because that would be unfair. The type of combat in our time, however, was not like what is in Somalia currently. Things back then were happening in Sudan, Uganda and so forth," he revealed.

    After his O levels and A levels at the Nairobi School in 1977, Eseli joined the University of Nairobi to pursue an undergraduate degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB), graduating in 1984.

    He then underwent an internship at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) between 1984-1985 before joining the army, where he was stationed at the Armed Forces Medical Services as a medical doctor.

    There, he worked for three years before he took a break to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Nairobi (UoN) before he returned to service as a qualified pediatrician, a position he served in untill 1993 when he left the army.

    Simiyu clarified that the decision to leave the military was on the consideration that he had served his term and also that the University of Nairobi was beckoning him to go and teach.

    "I had served my term and the University of Nairobi wanted me to teach, so I went there and slowly rose through the ranks to the position of a senior lecturer," he recounted.

    He served as a lecturer until August 2005 when he was promoted to a senior lecturer, a position that he holds to date, alongside his political career.

    Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) medics offer services at the Rwamagama Provincial Hospital in Eastern Rwanda during the 2nd EAC Defence Forces Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) on June 28, 2019.
    Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) medics offer services at the Rwamagama Provincial Hospital in Eastern Rwanda during the 2nd EAC Defence Forces Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) on June 28, 2019.
    Twitter

    Simiyu still looks back to the days in the defence forces with nostalgia and let it slip that if he is called upon to offer his services to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), he would not hesitate to take up the call.

    "I am part of the saying in the military that once you are a soldier, you will always be a soldier. If ever I am called upon, in whatever capacity, to offer any form of service, I will," he concluded.