Ambrose Harugurah: ‘How brush with highway robbers improved my life’

Ambrose Harugurah

Marsabit County Public Service Board member Ambrose Harugurah.

Photo credit: Pool

On August 2, 2020, two armed bandits attacked a Toyota Land Cruiser ferrying local leaders along the Laisamis-Ngurnet road in Marsabit County and robbed them of Sh80,000 and personal effects including mobile phones.

The occupants of the vehicle were a National Drought Management Authority official, a former member of county assembly, a Marsabit County Public Service Board member and the driver. As the two bandits were taking stock of their loot, Ambrose Harugurah, the County Public Service Board member, saw an opening and acted on instinct. The licensed gunholder drew his pistol and shot one of the thieves, injuring him. The other victims jumped into the action and disarmed the injured bandit. The other thief dropped everything and fled.

They called police based in Laisamis for assistance. The injured bandit was rushed to hospital for treatment and is today behind bars for robbery with violence. Former Marsabit Police Commander Samuel Mutunga and then County Commissioner Paul Rotich were the first influential individuals to heap praise on Mr Harugurah’s bravery and instinctive reaction, after the Nation first covered the story. Since then, it has been accolade after accolade for Mr Harugurah.

“My career path took an intriguing twist after the Nation Media Group featured my story. I strongly believe that media, if well harnessed, is a stout tailwind that can boost one’s career progression,” Mr Haragurah said in an interview.

Mr Rotich nominated him for the Order of Grand Warrior Presidential Award 2022.

He has since earned national, regional, and international awards and recognitions such as the African Public Service Optimum (APSO) Award 2022.

The APSO awards recognise professionals in public and private institutions and individuals contributing to economic growth. Mr Harugurah was recently nominated for the iChenge Nations Awards 2023 alongside the Tourism Cabinet Secretary Penninah Malonza.

Ms Malonza won the award as Mr Haragurah emerged among the finalists. Mr Haragurah says media coverage is not only about the country’s polarised politics or bad governance as is the popular perception.

“I believe in the power of the media in not just informing the populace but also shaping strong opinions around real issues that matter to people.”

“The space of the media’s role in accelerating and defending good governance and socioeconomic growth cannot be wished away. For this reason, freedom of the media must be guarded zealously and jealously,” Mr Harugurah added.

Mr Harugurah has previously served as a sub-county administrator in Moyale, deputy county commissioner of Bungoma County and deputy county commissioner of Garissa County.