“You have to massage the tree this way before you plant it,” Dr. Kalua said with his characteristic wide smile.”
The nearly two hundred guests who had gathered at Ngong Road Forest grounds broke into raucous laughter. Among them were dozens of army men and women together with Amb Dr. Monica Juma the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Defense and Keriako Tobiko, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Forestry. Also part of the gathering were senior members of the Diplomatic Corps including Zainab Hawa Bangura Under-Secretary-General & the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) and Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya.
Dr. Kalua was demonstrating how to plant a tree. In his hands was the large seedling of croton megalocarpus, an indigenous tree with proven biofuel properties. Standing next to Dr. Kalua were the two Cabinet Secretaries. Together, they proceeded to plant the tree as Dr. Kalua provided a humorous running commentary on how to plant trees in the right way.
This tree planting event was being held to commemorate the international women’s day that is held annually on March 8th. In her keynote address later on, after almost two hundred indigenous trees had been planted, Amb. Dr. Monica Juma paid tribute to the resilience of women and noted how they are occupying critical leadership positions in the Kenya Defense Forces. Indeed, President Uhuru Kenyatta has made history as the only President to appoint female Defense Ministers not once but twice.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us continue to celebrate and support all women. Dr. Kalua remains fully committed to this.