Raila Odinga: Table the Truth Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) report to honour Ntimama's memory

Raila Odinga during a Requiem Mass at all saints Cathedral ahead of William ole Ntimama's burial tommorrow. He wants the Government to table the Truth Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) report in Parliament in Ntimama’s honour. (BEVERLYNE MUSILI/ STANDARD)

Former Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama has been eulogised as a leader who defended the rights of the marginalised with passion.

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and former Tanziania Prime Minister Edward Lowassa described Ntimama as a fearless leader who refused to be intimidated by the powers that be.

Raila told mourners at the former Narok North MP’s funeral service at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi yesterday how he fought historical injustices against his community. He wants the Government to table the Truth Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) report in Parliament in Ntimama’s honour.

“He passionately defended the Maasai community; that is why we want the TJRC report tabled in honour of his memory,” said Raila.

The TJRC was set up to investigate historical injustices, including extra-judicial killings and economic marginalisation after independence until the 2008 post-election violence.

Raila recounted how Ntimama stood by him when he oversaw the emotional Mau Forest evictions when he was Prime Minister in the grand coalition.

“I was told the Mau issue would make me unpopular and cause me to lose in the 2013 elections but Ntimama supported me because it is better to die on principle than live in denial and deceit,” he added.

Ntimama died on September 1 and will be buried at his Motonyi home in Narok today.

Mr Nkaissery said Ntimama was relied on to give his community direction on important matters, including elections. “He gave us hope and spoke without fearing anybody.”

The CS said Ntimama met local leaders before he died and shared ideas he thought the community should take ahead of the elections.

“The leaders will tomorrow (today) share with the community what Ntimama told them,” the CS said.

Mr Lowassa said members of the Maa community both in Kenya and Tanzania had been marginalised and urged leaders to work together to defend their rights.

Ntimama’s children described him as a loving father who cultivated a special relationship with them.

“You were extremely busy but you still made time for us,” said his daughter, Deborah Sanaipei. “You were quick to forgive and your anger never lasted. It evaporated as fast as it came.”

Ntimama served as the Narok County Council chairman for 15 years and as an MP for 25 years. He also served in various ministries.

Leaders from Narok and Kajiado counties called on locals to protect their land. Those who spoke at Ntimama’s home on Monday cautioned locals against selling their land.

Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi urged local leaders to protect Maa community land in honour of Ntimama. “We must rise up to protect our land. And we are telling you to stop selling land. We are also warning those who are buying it,” Mr Memusi said.

Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella accused the Government of failing to resolve historical injustices against the community by the colonial government 53 years later. And Kajiado Governor David Nkedienye said local leaders should emulate Ntimama by defending the community.

“Ntimama has left a big gap. He stood for the rights of our community until his death. We will follow in his footsteps,” said Mr Nkedienye.