Uhuru and Raila praise former Nakuru mayor for changing lives

ODM leader Raila Odinga is introduced to the late Thuo's widows Mary Wanjiru and Susan Wanjiru by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui during the funeral service at ACK Good Shepherd Cathedral on January 5, 2022. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Politics took centre stage during former Nakuru mayor Joseck Thuo’s funeral service despite efforts by the clergy to stop politicking at the pulpit. Thuo died at a Nairobi hospital last December 27 after a short illness. He was aged 88.

Hundreds of mourners thronged the ACK, Nakuru for the service also attended by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui. 

Water CS Sicily Kariuki, State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya were also present. 

In condolence messages to the family read by Mr Kinyanjui, President Uhuru Kenyatta termed Thuo’s death a loss for Nakuru and the country. “I received the news of Thuo’s death with great sadness. He expressed the true spirit of true Kenyans. He always strived to venture into new areas and create opportunities for himself and others,” Uhuru said in the message. 

The President said Thuo’s humility made him partner with others to establish various investments. 

“Since joining politics, he portrayed nationalism and patriotism that saw him preside over projects that have benefitted Nakuru people. He laid a solid foundation for social, economic and political matters in Nakuru county,” said Uhuru. 

Raila described Thuo as a patriot who strived to make life better for the electorate. “The value of a man is how they contribute to the struggles of major enemies of mankind -ignorance, poverty and disease. Thuo had a major contribution in the fight against these enemies,” said Raila. 

Raila drummed up support for his presidential bid. “Azimio La Umoja means we come together beyond our differences in race, age, gender, and tribe. Thuo came from Murang’a and lived in Nakuru without fear that he was not a local,” said Raila. 

He added: “Anyone should be free to live and do business anywhere in the country. We should not have internally displaced persons in the country. Nobody should live anywhere at the mercies of a certain community.” 

Mr Kinuthia, who steered clear of politics, told the congregation: “The President asked the Prime Minister (Raila) to represent him, and Governor Kinyanjui to read his speech; and I convey a word of encouragement to the family,” said Kinuthia. 

Kinyanjui said Thuo’s work as councillor and mayor of Nakuru would be felt throughout generations. “He was not just a former mayor but also a personal friend. We shared views on how leadership should be. He was on my first line of consultation. He was on the frontline in paying taxes,” said Kinyanjui. 

Thuo is survived by his two widows Mary Wanjiru and Susan Wanjiru, four sons and a daughter. 

Mary said of Thuo: “We got married in August 1958. He always spent quality time with his family despite his busy schedules. He loved cooking and fishing in Lake Naivasha.” 

She said Thuo always worked to ensure he realised his dreams, and that he supported those around him.