By Standard Digital Reporter
President Kibaki led a high-powered Government delegation to pay last respects to late Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti during his funeral service in Kitengela.
Speakers at the ceremony eulogised Prof Saitoti as a friend, advisor, dependable right hand, effective leader, and a statesman. Messages of condolence have been received from Pope Benedict XVI, current and former presidents, diplomats, politicians, scholars and ordinary citizens.
Prof Saitoti who perished alongside his assistant minister Joshua Orwa Ojodeh, two pilots-Captain Nancy Gituanja and Captain Luke Oyugi, two police officers Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murumi, in a helicopter crash a week ago has been laid to rest in his Kitengela farm Saturday.
Friends, family and country remember a complicated man who was “no angel”, but did his duty until his dying day, earning respect for his sacrifice.
As Kenya pays its last respects to former Vice-President George Saitoti, 67, the true scale of his service and the nation’s loss continues to unfold.
Thousands of Kenyans who are shocked at his demise trooped to his Kitengela home to join his family and friends in giving him a heroic send-off after decades of political service.
“The loss of Prof Saitoti has been a painful experience for me,” President Kibaki said, describing the departed leader as “a personal friend to whom I entrusted (some of) the most crucial dockets in Government.”
Praising Saitoti’s sense of decorum and careful public manner, the President said he took solace in the knowledge he leaves behind a rich legacy. “I will always be thankful for the competent manner he implemented the policy of Free Primary Education that has remained very close to my heart since we introduced it nine years ago,” he said.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga described Saitoti as a patriot who he had an MoU with on politics. He recounted how he talked him into 'Kibaki Tosha' deal.
“Let us all like Saitoti put Kenya first as a way of respecting him. Let us not disturb peace at campaigns this time round,” House Speaker Kenneth Marende said.
Former President Moi said Saitoti was capable of higher leadership. He said he was a patriotic performer who never preached tribal politics.