A sombre mood yesterday engulfed Umiru village in Siaya County as hundreds of mourners turned up to receive and view the body of former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.
The celebrated educationist and former civil servant will be laid to rest today at his Umiru home.
Magoha’s body arrived at Yala Township Primary School yesterday around 1:50pm aboard a Kenya Air Force chopper accompanied by his wife Barbra Magoha and his son Michael Magoha, among family members.
On a normal day, the chopper would be used by the president of the country for official duties.
At the school, there were no speeches apart from prayers by Catholic priest Clement Goro. The body stayed inside the chopper for about 10 minutes before it was loaded into a hearse for a procession to St Mary’s Yala School.
At St Mary’s Yala School, students stood in two rows as they sang praise songs and recited poems in honour of the late CS.
At exactly 3:35pm, the late professor’s body arrived at his home in Umiru village. The procession was led by Starehe Boys Band. There was a slight commotion at Magoha’s home gate when mourners were stopped from entering his home but were later allowed in.
A small prayer session was held at his home before mourners were allowed to view the body.
Mourners, led by St Mary’s Yala School Board, said Magoha would be remembered for the development projects he initiated for their school where he was board chairman since 2016.
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The school principal Victor Makanda said they would remember Magoha for lobbying for the construction of a perimeter wall around the hostels, main gate facelift, laying cabro from the gate to the administration block and the construction of two hostels.
A villager, Peter Ochieng, said Magoha would be remembered as a kind, strict man and a unifying factor who did so much for the community.
Magoha’s final funeral celebration will be held at Odera Akang’o University and he will later be buried in his home village. Several leaders are expected at the burial.
Kenya Private Schools Association chairman Charles Ochome said Magoha will be remembered as a friend and a person who did his best in the education sector.
At the time of his death, Magoha had a rich CV and had been preparing to take up a new assignment as a professor of medicine at the Maseno University.
Magoha, 71, served as the vice chancellor of the University of Nairobi between January 2005 and January 2015.
He also served as professor of surgery at the university’s College of Health Sciences.
Magoha was appointed the chairperson of the Kenya National Examinations Council, serving between 2016 and 2019.
On March 1, 2019, the then President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated him for the position of Cabinet Secretary for Education, and he was sworn into office on March 26, 2019 after being vetted by the National Assembly.
He served as Education CS until October 27, 2022.