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James Ole Kiyiapi

Professor James Ole Kiyiapi was born on the 17th of May 1961 at Osupuko location, Transmara District, Kenya. His was a humble background. As a boy, he grew up herding his father’s flock and lived a typical village life.

It was not until 1972 when, at the age of 11, he enrolled for primary education at Poroko primary school in Transmara district. He performed very well and his teachers recommended that he jumps class three to join upper primary due to his academic competence in class two. He sat for CPE exams in 1977, attaining a record 36 points to join Alliance High School.  From Alliance, Kiyiapi joined Moi University and graduated in 1988 with first class honors degree (BSc) in Forestry. Ole Kiyiapi then registered for MSc in Forestry. In 1989, he transferred straight from MSc in Forestry to a PhD programme at the University of Toronto where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Forestry in 1993 at the age of 32. Between 1988 and 1994, he served as a senior research fellow, faculty of environmental studies, at York University, Canada.

For the period between 1994 and 2006, Ole Kiyiapi taught at Moi University as a lecturer and rose up the ranks to the position of Associate Professor in 2004. He also worked as country program director of the Africa Wildlife Foundation, an international NGO that focuses on the conservation of Africa’s wildlife protection areas and adjacent community areas.  At the University, Professor Kiyiapi held various academic leadership positions including the Chairman of the Department of Forestry between 1995 and 1997 as well as being an active member of various professional bodies. He has also published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

In August 2006, Professor Ole Kiyiapi was appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. He was then moved to Ministry of Medical Services in April 2008 in the same position. In June 2010, he moved to the Ministry of Education where he also served as the permanent Secretary until April 16th, 2012 when he resigned to launch his presidential campaign.  On April the 22nd of the same year, Professor Ole Kiyiapi officially launched his presidential campaign at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) in Nairobi through the Restore and Build Kenya (RBK) political party.

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