Remembering the fiery unionist Ambrose Adeya Adongo

 Ambrose Adeya Adongo

Former Knut Secretary-General Ambrose Adeya Adongo.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A new complex has been built at Ambrose Adeya Adongo Secondary School in Alego Usonga Constituency.

The multi-purpose building was constructed at the school named after the unionist who gave the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) a name to immortalise him.

The late Adeya, whose glowing tributes transcend his home county of Siaya, was a fiery unionist who shook the government during his time at the helm of the largest teachers' union.

His community remembers him as a down-to-earth man who interacted freely with people from all walks of life.

Though little known to the current generation, Mr Adeya, who died in 2001, was born in Randago village in Alego Usonga, Siaya County, where he received his formative education and further training as a teacher. He taught at Ambira and Sawagongo secondary schools before moving to Nairobi.

He later rose to the coveted position of secretary general in 1970, a position he held until he died in 2001. He was the longest-serving holder of this position in Knut's history.

Mr Alex Dunga, Knut Siaya branch executive secretary, remembers the late Adeya as a man who was always willing to go out of his way to help build his community.

"He was loved in the village, as in the rest of the country, because of the way he did things. He never looked down on anyone just because of their position in society," said Mr Dunga.

Whenever he visited Siaya town, Mr Adeya was said to interact with people in the least expected places.

"Instead of visiting the fancy hotels where you would expect people of his calibre to dine, he would be in the local eateries chatting with the common people. He was a down-to-earth man. He never bragged about his position as you would expect people in similar positions to do," he added.

The new multi-purpose facility at the school is expected to give the institution a new look and improve its status.

"Currently, the institution is a day school with only Form Four boarding. The multi-purpose facility will have a modern library, administration and tuition wing," said Mr George Adeya, an uncle of the late unionist.

The facility will also house an ultra-modern computer library with 50 computers and a staff room; the building was constructed at a cost of Sh22 million.

  

The school's Board of Management is planning to add more facilities that will take the school from a sub-county to an extra-county school.

"The enrolment is growing fast and this new facility will in no time make it an extra-county school and open up Randago village," added Mr Adeya.

The Alego Usonga Constituency Development Fund provided the funds to build the structure.

Siaya Municipal Council has also named a road after the veteran trade unionist; the road linking Siaya-Bondo roda to Ufinya Dam.

"Naming a road after the late Mr Adongo is good, but the road is hidden and does not match the status of the man who transformed the teaching sector," said Mr Dunga.

He continued, "Mr Adeya was a hero and must be respected as a hero. If you want to name a street after him, choose a major street in the town that befits him.

The late unionist, like some Siaya heroes, hailed from Alego location in South East; others from the same location are the late former CDF Francis Ogola, Barack Hussein Obama Snr, former government spokesperson and Siaya County government chief of staff Col Cyrus Oguna, lawmaker Samuel Atandi among others.

Millennials, those born in the 1980s, remember the veteran trade unionist for leading one of the longest teachers' strikes that lasted almost two weeks (12 days) and paved the way for the signing of a grand bargaining agreement between the government of the late President Daniel Moi and Knut.