Leaders pay tribute to Kenya's first AG

Sir Charles Njonjo and ODM leader Raila Odinga having lunch at Ranalo Foods (K’Osewe), 2008. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta led the nation in mourning the former Attorney General (AG) Charles Njonjo yesterday crediting him for laying the foundation for the nation’s growth.

“As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to Charles Njonjo and his generation of independence era leaders for their selfless contribution to the laying of the solid foundation upon which our country continues to thrive,” said the president in his condolence message.

During his tenure in government from pre-colonial to the post-colonial era, Njonjo served as Attorney-General, Constitutional Affairs Minister and MP for Kikuyu.

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga also paid tribute to the former AG as a “towering giant” and “dedicated advocate” saying his death was a big blow to the nation.

Raila said that he and his wife, Ida Odinga received with shock and heavy heart the news of the passing of “my long-time friend Charles Njonjo.”

“Our legal fraternity greatly benefited from his input and hard work,” Raila posted on his verified Twitter account from Mombasa where he was on holiday with his family.

“He was knowledgeable, blunt and a dedicated advocate for the courses he believed in,” said Ruto through his Twitter account.

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi whose family has close ties with that of Njonjo's also poured his condolences through his Twitter account, remembering Njonjo for his contribution to the country’s legal framework.

“It is with sadness that I have learnt of the death of former Attorney General Charles Njonjo this morning. Njonjo contributed immensely to this country's legal foundation and framework being the first Attorney General after Kenya attained independence,” said Gideon.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, remembered how Njonjo stood his ground to defend the Constitution against a scheme seeking to bar the then Vice President (Daniel Moi) from taking over power following the death of the first president of the republic.

"He was also a valiant crusader against corruption. During the Chepkube ‘black gold' coffee scandal, Njonjo was prepared to resign if the key perpetrators of the scandal did not resign from cabinet and parliament," said Kalonzo.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi described Njonjo as one of the country’s early lawyers who played an instrumental role in the constitutional and legal regime of the independent Kenya post-independence.

Ford-Kenya Party leader, Moses Wetang’ula, who is also the Senator for Bungoma, said on Twitter: “At 101, we celebrate his illustrious and eventful life. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Kiambu Governor James Nyoro has paid glowing tribute to Kenya’s first Attorney General Charles Njonjo, saying he had served Kenya dutifully. “I am saddened by the death of Charles Mugane Njonjo, the only surviving member of Kenya’s independence cabinet. A proud son of Kabete, fondly referred to as the ‘Duke of Kabeteshire’, the late Njonjo served this country with distinction,” said Nyoro.

He said the people of Kiambu feel the loss deeply. “We pray that God grants his family peace during this trying moment, and may his soul rest in eternal peace,” he added.

Siaya Senator James Orengo described him as a “fallen giant” adding that the Ex-AG was principled and strong in his beliefs and convictions.

With great admiration for the life Njonjo lived, the Service Party leader (TSP) Mwangi Kiunjuri, remembered Njojo for his principles and his ability to exit civil service far from the public eye.

“We can learn a lot from Sir Charles who understood that life was not only being in the trappings of power but also quietly and away from the public glare,” said Kiunjuri.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said he’d learnt of Njonjo’s death “with tremendous shock”.

“Charles was a great friend of my father, Canon Hezbon Shimei Nyong'o, and they worked together in the Anglican Church for many years together with the late Bishop Henry Okullu.?

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru wrote: “He was an astute public servant whose contribution to shaping the then newly independent Kenya."