The late Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachagua was on Monday (6/03/17) laid to rest at a burial ceremony in his Nyeri home.
The send-off was marked with laughter as various national leaders gathered at his Hiriga home to celebrate his life.
Those in attendance included President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, former President Mwai Kibaki, Opposition leader Raila Odinga, 35 governors and several Cabinet Secretaries.
His children recalled their dad with affection with his daughter joking that he’d stroll around their home with her medicinal course books while conceding that he experienced enormously the pain associated with pancreatic cancer in his last days. “He’d call me and ask me what we could do about the pain.”
President Uhuru called on the Nyeri County Assembly to pass the county government’s budget and make it possible for successor Samuel Wamathai to finish the work Gachagua started.
Uhuru added that leaders should stop fighting counties as this makes it difficult for them to deliver.
“I did not know I could agree with Opposition leader Raila Odinga at a burial. This day is indeed historic as I agree that county governments need to be allowed to work,” he said.
The Deputy President noted that Gachagua was a committed and selfless leader who dedicated his life to serving his people.
“We were able to roll out devolution because of the commitment of governors led by Gachagua. His contribution in the Council of Governors showed how committed he was to his nation and Nyeri county,” Ruto said.
“I was once told he called Nyeri leaders and asked them to converge in a hall so he could address them. That is a true show of love for the people,” he added.
Opposition leader Raila praised the Governor as a strong defender of devolution who did not entertain intimidation by ward representatives.
“I pay tribute to Gachagua and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana for standing firm in support of devolution. The two did not give in to blackmail and intimidation in the form of bench-marking trips,” he said.
Gachagua died at a London hospital where he was being treated for pancreatic cancer.
His body arrived in the country on Thursday to an emotional reception at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).