Emotions ran high in Nakuru's Umoja Primary School as hundreds of mourners turned up for the funeral ceremony of popular Chief Francis Kariuki of Lanet Umoja.
Kariuki, who died last Wednesday aged 55, shot to the limelight in 2011 after he joined the provincial administration from his teaching profession and utilised Twitter as a main tool for his new job.
Among the awards under his name for his use of technology in administration included a Giraffe Heroes Kenya Award 2014.
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His burial was conducted at his home in Githioro, Bahati, where dozens of administrators thronged to pay their last respect to their chairman under the National Chiefs Caucus.
The funeral which was conducted under strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations was attended by Governor Lee Kinyanjui, County Commissioner Erastus Mbui and Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri.
Kinyanjui eulogised the administrator as an example in leadership and community policing who had a keen interest in development and service to humanity.
“Chief Kariuki is a household name in the county. He was a good leader and we used to consult on development issues including water provision to residents and security,” said Kinyanjui.
While calling on other administrators to be creative and efficient in their jobs, Kinyanjui said that there were many opportunities for them to explore in combating crime and propelling them to greater heights.
“Through the Twitter platform, he transformed information dissemination that led to improved security in Lanet. His use of social media was inspiring and earned him recognition locally and internationally. We appreciate his contribution that made the society better,” said Kinyanjui.
It is his use of social media that earned him the title “Tweeting Chief” which later presented for him a stage to travel across the globe sensitising administrators on the security tool in their line of duty.
Mbui described the fallen administrator as a selfless person whose influence was felt beyond his location where his administrative jurisdiction was limited to.
“We have lost a dedicated, innovative and dynamic civil servant. He tirelessly worked for his people and his death has left behind a huge gap to easily fill. It is his good deeds that made for him a name beyond Nakuru and Kenya,” said Mbui.
The deceased’s wife Peris Kariuki described her late husband as a humble and servant leader who was all round in his job and as a family man.
“I have been robbed a great friend and husband who was always there for his people and his family. He was an ambitious and hardworking man. You had big dreams. I will miss you, my husband. Let your soul rest in the hands of our God,” Peris said.
The residents condoled with the family describing Chief Kariuki as instrumental in resolving their societal issues.
“His office was always open. He had a listening ear without discrimination. We have lost a great leader and civil servant. His humility was beyond expectations compared to his name,” said Jane Karanja, a resident.
According to the family, Chief Kariuki died at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital where he had been rushed after complaining of difficulties in breathing. He had also for a long time battled with diabetes.
The mourners in disbelief braved heavy rains at his Githioro home as he was finally laid to rest.
Chief Kariuki worked as a teacher in different schools for 21 years before he enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree course in Counselling and Psychology at Mount Kenya University.