NAIROBI, Kenya July 9 – Detectives investigating the death of Interior Cabinet Secretary the late Joseph Nkaissery are still piecing together information that could help unravel the mystery behind it.
The team however, says there is little to be done until a postmortem on the body is conducted “because nothing is shaping up so far.”
The detectives spent the better part of Saturday collecting samples and other forms of evidence from places the Interior Cabinet Secretary visited during his last moments alive—including the Bomas of Kenya, where he is said to have had a glass of wine, and his home. They also questioned several people at the Bomas of Kenya, including waiters who attended to him and security guards.
Information pieced together by detectives relying on Nkaissery’s aides, friends and family members show that Nkaissery left his office at Harambee House at 6.30 pm and headed to the Bomas of Kenya, where he frequents mostly to watch news while meeting his friends, before he headed home, having taken a glass of wine.
While at home, he is said to have held a brief meeting with his security team about the following day’s itinerary, before he did some exercises and later had dinner with his wife. He collapsed while walking to the bedroom and was rushed to hospital shortly before midnight while unconscious and he never woke up.
“The investigation is progressing on well but there is no clue yet,” one senior government official told us on Sunday morning, quoting the probe team, “at this moment, an autopsy is key and tests on the samples we collected from various areas.”
Nkaissery was pronounced dead on arrival at the Karen Hospital on Saturday morning, having collapsed at his home after complaining of sharp chest pains.
An initial government statement issued by the Head of Civil Service and State House Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua had indicated that the CS died in hospital where he had gone for a medical checkup.
This assertion was refuted by the Chairman of the Karen Hospital Board Dr James Mugeria who said the CS was dead by the time he was taken to the facility.
“He was already dead, but you see doctors cannot assume and that is why they tried to resuscitate him but it was too late since he was already gone,” Dr Mugeria told Capital FM News, saying he is the one who called top government officials—including Kinyua, the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro to the hospital and handed over the body to them and Nkaissery’s family members.
Government Spokesman Erick Kiraithe later issued a statement saying the earlier one by Kinyua was issued in error.
There was no official confirmation on when the postmortem will be conducted.
President Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to remain calm and await postmortem results to show the cause of the sudden death.
“I want to take this opportunity to offer my personal condolences to his family; his children and wife in particular,” he added, “Nkaissery is an officer who has for the most part of his life served with total dedication and love for his country. He was a man who believed in his country, who believed in the principals on which this country was built and a man who dedicated most of his life to serving this great nation.” He has appointed Education CS Fred Matiang’i to to replace Nkaissery at the Interior Ministry in an acting capacity.
According to leaders quoting his security detail and family members, Nkaissery had just taken dinner with his family, did regular exercises before he collapsed and was rushed to Karen Hospital where he was pronounced dead, in what is believed to be a heart attack.
“I have spoken to his closest bodyguard who says they were together, and whenever he goes home he engages in exercises before retiring to bed. And he did that and even had dinner with his wife, so falling down and being taken to hospital, whether it is cardiac arrest, he had not showed any signs,” Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet told journalists at the Lee Funeral Home where Nkaissery’s body is preserved awaiting postmortem.
And when he spoke to journalists at the Lee Funeral Home, Kinyua said “Let us not speculate, let us wait for the postmortem report.”
The death of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery has been described as a big blow to the country, coming just a month to the August 8 General Election.
Deputy President William Ruto on his twitter handle said the news of the passing on of Nkaissery was saddening.
“Received news of the passing on of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery with deep sorrow, grief and sadness. We have lost a patriot: an indefatigable and consummate professional who dedicated himself to the service of his country,” Ruto tweeted.
Former President Daniel arap Moi said he learnt about Nkaissery’s death with shock and disbelief.
“He served this country with exceptional energy and dedication. The cruel hand of death has robbed the country one of her most illustrious sons,” he said in a statement.
NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga too sent condolences to the family and clarified that their differences with Nkaissery were political and nothing more.
“We’ve had great times with him and I remember telling him that you’re making this government more efficient that it was,” he said “Our differences were just political”.
Former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku, who is vying for the Kajiado gubernatorial seat, said the loss will also be felt in the Maasai land where he was regarded as the head, since the death of William Ole Ntimama.
“This is not only a big loss to the community but a loss to the whole country because of the position Nkaissery was holding,” Lenku said, while describing Nkaissery as a dedicated and selfless leader.
Elijah Memusi who replaced Nkaissery as MP for Kajiado Central urged Kenyans to remain calm, while saying it is a huge loss to the country.
“It is a loss to the whole country and the timing is bad because the county is headed to General Election, and I want to tell the Maa community that the death of Nkaissery should unite us,” he said.
Speaker of Nairobi County Assembly Alex Ole Magelo said “it is hard to imagine that Nkaissery is dead because he was in good health.”
Nkaissery was a Member of Parliament until 2014 when he resigned to take up President Uhuru Kenyatta’s appointment as Interior Cabinet Secretary to replace Joseph Ole Lenku who was unceremoniously dismissed in the wake of increased insecurity in the country.
He joined politics in 2002 when he retired from the military at the rank of Major General, having served for 29 years.
He was then elected Member of Parliament in 2007, and was later appointed Assistant Minister for Internal Security by former President Mwai Kibaki in 2008-2013.
He was elected to Parliament on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), before he fell out with the party leader Raila Odinga, when he joined President Kenyatta’s government.