Senators have paid glowing tribute to the Laikipia Senator G G Kariuki who died Friday morning, describing him as a political pillar in Kenya.
At the same time, President Uhuru Kenyatta has described him as a pragmatic leader who immensely contributed to the liberation and growth of Kenya.
In his message, President Kenyatta said Senator Kariuki is one of the few leaders in Kenya who, despite his age, continued to play a key role in shaping the country’s future by being a voice of reason where there were endless arguments on national issues.
“The contribution of the late Senator G G Kariuki will forever be engrained in our minds and history books.
“As a young leader during independence, he played a key in resolving land conflicts and the resettlement of squatters, particularly in Laikipia, as well as standing for the rights of all Kenyans where he felt they were being trampled [upon] by those in authority,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said the late senator not only played a major role in the struggle for independence but was also a key player in the growth of democracy in Kenya.
“He was also at the centre of second liberation together with other leaders who championed for true democracy in our country. As a nation we are truly indebted to him and other founding fathers of our nation,” said the President.
The President prayed to God to give fortitude and comfort to Mr Kariuki’s family during these difficult moments.
SENATORS PAY TRIBUTE
Speaking in Mombasa, Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura said Mr Kariuki’s death has robbed the country of a great man who had vast political experience.
“He will be greatly missed by all in Kenya including both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga who were very close to him,” said Mr Gitura.
He was speaking at the ongoing leadership retreat that brings together Senators the Kenya Editors Guild at English Point Marina in Mombasa.
Mr Gitura led those present to observe a minute silence in honour of Senator Kariuki.
“He was a political icon, a role model and a personal friend,” he said.
Kirinyaga Senator Daniel Karaba said the late Kariuki was a highly respected leader, a great man, a hard worker and an extra-ordinary Kenyan.
“He was a moving encyclopaedia who knew everything about Parliament and its proceedings.
“He was a friend to all, the opposition and government and offered his valuable advice to all,” said Mr Karaba.
Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe said the Senate, the National Assembly and the country will miss “this great man”.
“He was a political landmark in Kenya, very humble and with great humility despite his advanced age,” he said.
“He advised me a lot before making a contribution in the House. He often used to tell me, “Do not blow the whistle right now. Wait and listen to others a little longer”.”
Mr Kagwe said the late Kariuki was a great predictor of future political events and situations and had a lot of wisdom and experience.
Nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony said she knew the late Senator Kariuki for many years through three governments of presidents Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta.
“He was a man of few but calculated and measured words. He was a great Kanu advisor and it is very sad at this period in time to lose him. He was so determined and studied for his PhD at very old age,” she said.
Additional reporting by PSCU