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Ex-governor Gachagua was generous, say kin and colleagues

By Lydiah Nyawira | March 7th 2017
Governors Josephat Nanok (Turkana) Isaac Ruto (Bomet) John Murutu (Taita-Taveta, Peter Munya (Meru) and William Kabogo arrive for the funeral service for the Nyeri governor Nderiu Gachagua from the Lee funeral home, March 6, 2017, Gachagua was later laid to rest at his home in Hiriga in Mathira. The late Gachagua passed away a fortnight ago at a London hospital after battling pancreatic cancer. PHOTO: MOSE SAMMY/STANDARD

Family, friends and politicians yesterday eulogised former Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua as a strong, generous and courageous man.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as well as 35 governors and the top brass in the national government joined over 3,000 mourners for the funeral.

His brother Rigathi Gachagua started off the tributes with revelations of details on how the former county chief jeopardised his health to attend the Senate impeachment hearings.

"My brother insisted on attending Senate hearings on his impeachment personally despite the advice of doctors and family," Rigathi noted, adding that that decision was painful to accept since it was obvious he was risking his life.

"We were so saddened by the fact that he failed to undergo crucial treatment to come to defend himself in the Senate," recalled Rigathi.

Rigathi revealed that doctors refused to readmit Gachagua because he failed to undergo treatment for what they believed was political ambition. He also told mourners how his brother called him to London 12 days before his death.

"He knew he was done with treatment. Gachagua said that the doctors and nurses were not able to help him," said Rigathi.

The late governor also made some of the arrangements for his funeral and had time to speak to his family.

One of Gachagua's widows, Margaret Nyokabi, said her husband had been supportive for 37 years.

"He loved his children so much that when they were born he often came home to visit me and have lunch with me as he held our babies," said Nyokabi.

Nyokabi's co-wife, Margaret Waithiegeni, also eulogised her husband as her best friend, soulmate and the love of her life.

"Those last months we shared intimate moments where we prayed together and listened to Christian songs such as Dolly Parton's 'I'm only human' which we loved," she explained.

His children also each paid tribute to their father whom they said had a generous heart and often showed them the power of courage.

His first-born daughter Susan Kirigo, said her father had been key in introducing her into the world of business.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said from the time he met Gachagua at the University of Nairobi he was certain they would be great friends

Raila said he was introduced to Gachagua by the late Wangari Maathai and noted he was a straightforward politician.

DP Ruto pointed out that Gachagua was a key influence in the implementation of devolution.


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