President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga joined Kenyans in mourning the late Kenyan-born Havard professor Calestous Juma who died on Friday.
President Uhuru described him as one of Kenya’s most distinguished scholars and patriots. He added the late was a jovial, generous and a humble man.
“Those who had the pleasure of meeting him — or communicating with him online and off — will testify to his warmth, his love of learning, and his great generosity. Whoever you were, he replied quickly and courteously, eager to let you have the benefit of his learning and experience. We will miss him.
“I am grateful for his life; and I pray that God, who has called Professor Juma to himself, will comfort his family and grant them the grace and courage to endure the loss,” Uhuru said.
On his part, the former Prime Minister described Professor Juma as a scholar and a man who was passionate in empowering young people of every nationality to shape the world.
Raila said Juma was a keen believer in regional integration as a means of empowering citizens and bringing the world closer together.
“As a country, we are all better off because we produced Prof. Juma. But it is possible that we could have tapped and benefitted more from his fountain of knowledge that he was always ready to offer particularly in the areas of modern agriculture, innovation, engineering, international development and biotechnology.
“I am aware of his attempts to start a high calibre college of Science and Technology in Western Kenya which never bore fruit due to lack of support. That effort now remains a dream deferred as we mourn him,” stated Raila.
He died at the age of 64 while undergoing treatment in Boston.
He was a professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.
He was also internationally recognised for his immense contribution to science, technology and innovation.
Calestous Juma who was also an author was among the first African Science and Environmental journalists. Before he died, the professor who has several publications under his name was working on a new book titled: A New Culture of Innovation: Technology, Entrepreneurship and Prosperity.
He was also named among the top 100 Africans for three years running from 2012 to 2014.
Professor Juma died just a week after the burial of his mother, leaving behind one wife and a son.