How Wahome Gakuru’s attention to detail endeared him to many

Dr Wahome Gakuru

Dr Wahome Gakuru, who died aged 51, was a visionary leader and carried the hopes of Nyeri County as their Governor.

The soft spoken governor had promised to turn around the county before his life was cut short through a grisly road accident at Makenji near Kabati along the Nairobi-Nyeri road. 

An economist by profession, residents were confident that he would use his expertise to improve their lives and restore the county’s lost glory.  The deceased had promised to run an accountable and transparent government and had already unveiled a cabinet composed of highly skilled professionals. 

He had big dreams and his intention was to tap into his rich experience in academia and the economic sector having served as the Founding Director Vision 2030 to transform the county.

As one of the brains behind the establishment of the Vision 2030 blueprint, there was no doubt he was cut out for the job of running the county government.


One of his last public engagements was a forum with governors from Central Kenya to deliberate on how to rehabilitate the moribund  Nairobi-Nanyuki Railway.

“This unbearable loss has robbed Nyeri County a jewel in its crown. No words are cogent enough to express our loss from this untimely death. Similarly, no tribute may be elaborate enough to express our determination to live his dream and bring his vision to fruition,” his successor Mutahi Kahiga said

His brief stint at the helm of Nyeri County Government tells the story of a man with attention to detail.

It took him two months to constitute his cabinet, personally scrutinising the resumes of applicants before narrowing down to 10 who were sworn in a fortnight ago as CECs.

“It was a tragic loss for us. The impact is huge. Dr Gakuru had just formed his government and was dedicated and focused on implementing the aspiration of his people,” Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina said.

Employees at the county government as well as his close friends describe him as a modest and pleasant man who was always ready to lend an ear to anyone.

Employees said the governor would arrive at his office as early as 7am and was a hands on man always keen to know what was happening.

The governor had identified the institutionalisation of accountability structures throughout the entire county public service as key in making his vision a reality. In his short political career the governor easily mingled with the low and mighty.   

The confidence residents had in him was witnessed during the August 8 General Election where he garnered 242,919 votes to beat the incumbent Samuel Wamathai who got 76,055.  

He got a rude shock during his debut into elective politics in 2013 after he was floored by the late Governor Nderitu Gachagua despite being in TNA which was the popular party in the county.

Gakuru was a strong believer in education as a tool of eradicating poverty and encouraged parents to take their children to the best schools.   

Tributes from all corners of the country following his death revealed the character of a man who was amiable and shunned controversy.

Gakuru had managed to cultivate a good working relationship with Members of the County Assembly having learnt from the mistakes of his predecessors who were constantly at loggerheads with the leaders.  Away from the political arena he was a well-known figure in the academia having lectured at top universities in the country and abroad.

The late governor was a member of the prestigious Harvard Business School Institute of Competitiveness and Strategy, America Society for Public Administration and  American Marketing Association (2001).

The deceased was born in 1966 in Kirichu village, Nyeri County, and is survived by a widow Catherine and three sons. His first born son is studying Pharmacy at USIU, his second born is a KCSE candidate at Alliance Boys High School while the last born in upper primary.