Members of the governor’s council at a service at the Lee funeral home viewing the body of the late Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachagua. (Photo: Mose Sammy/Standard)
There was a show of unity among Nyeri County leaders when the body of the immediate former governor, Nderitu Gachagua, arrived from London Thursday.
The plane carrying Mr Gachagua’s remains touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport minutes to 5am.
A brief prayer and eulogy session held in a tent erected at the airport’s Terminal E provided an opportunity for a host of governors and Nyeri leaders, led by Senator Mutahi Kagwe and Gachagua’s successor Samuel Wamathai, to pour their hearts out about the fallen leader.
The deceased’s brother, Rigathi Gachagua, took the opportunity to ask the county leaders to unite in mourning his brother.
Mr Rigathi said although the governor may have had political differences with some of the leaders, his family has “forgotten” the fallouts.
“My brother was a politician and may have had differences with some people. As a family we have forgotten all those issues,” he said.
He told the county’s MCAs that they were welcome to join the family in paying the politician their last respects. But the MCAs said yesterday they would not attend the funeral allegedly because they had received threats via social media (see story below).
Gachagua had sharp political differences with most of the county leaders, particularly the MCAs, culminating in a motion to impeach him last year.
Although the Senate rescued him from the ouster said to involve corruption, the leaders, including area MPs, sustained their political onslaught against him.
But yesterday, they described him as a brave leader who had great vision for the people of Nyeri.
Governors also heaped praises on Gachagua, saying he was a visionary leader who was determined to see devolution succeed.
Governors Ken Lusaka (Bungoma), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu) and Paul Chepkwony (Kericho) flew to London to accompany the body home. Others were Gachagua’s daughters Mercy and Susan, and Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK, Lazarus Amayo.
At the airport to receive the body were his widow Margret Karungaru and governors Okoth Obado (Migori), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), Ukur Yattani (Marsabit) and William Kabogo (Kiambu).
Other governors were David Nkedianye (Kajiado), John Nyagarama (Nyamira) and Joshua Irungu (Laikipia).
Other leaders included MPs Mary Wambui (Othaya), Ndung’u Gethenji (Tetu), Esther Murugi and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.
“Gachagua was a great man. He was a fighter full of energy. As we mourn him the least we can do is to keep his fire burning,” said Mr Nkedianye.
Mr Iria said Gachagua executed his duties even when he was “in great pain”.
Nyagarama said Gachagua’s death was a reminder to everybody to “move close to God”.
Mr Kabogo wondered why the coffin was not draped with the Kenyan flag as the fallen governor was “a hero”.
It appeared that someone heard his protest as a flag was made available when the body arrived at Lee Funeral Home.
Some of the Nyeri residents who travelled to the city to view their governor’s body broke down the moment the coffin was removed from the hearse.
The body will be moved to Nyeri at 7am on Monday. The burial service will start at 11am.