NAIROBI, Kenya July 8 – Leaders across the country were on Saturday united in mourning the death of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, describing him as a fearless leader who served the country with dedication.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said it is unfortunate that he has lost a leader who was committed to peace and unity, and recalled his last conversation with him.
“As late as 9:30 last night we were discussing issues pertaining to peace and unity in this country and indeed we even discussed his great passion which is Kenya’s preparedness to the World Junior Athletics which is supposed to commence in the next few days,” President Kenyatta said in a televised address from State House, Nairobi on Saturday morning when he announced the appointment of Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to the Interior Ministry in an acting capacity.
Although a statement from State House Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua stated that Nkaissery died at Karen Hospital where he had gone for a medical check up, details have emerged indicating that Interior Cabinet Secretary was rushed to hospital after collapsing in his house, in what is suspected 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.
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.”
Deputy President William Ruto through 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”.
Odinga’s running mate Kalonzo Musyoka said of Nkaissery; “He looked very stern but deep inside him, he was a very soft spoken gentleman and therefore we will miss him. Indeed in is a blow not just to the people of the Maasai community, Kajiado and the country at large.”
Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale said “this is a big loss to the nation, Nkaissery was a leader who served the country with dedication. We will miss him and we stand with his family during this difficult time.”
Gender Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said, “It is with great sadness that I learn of the demise of my friend and colleague in service, Major General Joseph Nkaissery.”
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed too sent condolences, saying “I have learnt with deep sadness and sorrow of the sudden death of Cabinet colleague and brother, Retired General Joseph Kasaine Nkaissery. I enjoyed working with the Late Minister and recall with fondness, his anecdotal humour.”
Kisumu Senator said he had lost” a dear friend and I will surely miss him. We differed on several occasions but that did not severe our close relationship.”
NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua who is also vying for the Kiyinyaga gubernatorial seat recalled her time with Nkaissery when they both served in the 10th parliament; “he served this nation with a sense of duty, commitment and diligence. He will be remembered for his service to country and most recently for his able leadership of the security docket at a time when terrorism was threatening the very fabric of our nation.”
Speaker of Nairobi County Assembly Alex Ole Magelo said Nkaissery’s death is a huge loss to the Maasai community and the country at large.
“I want to urge the Maa community to remain calm and united during this difficult time, this is a huge loss not only to us but the whole country,” he said outside Lee Funeral Home after viewing the body.
Nkaissery’s predecessor Joseph Ole Lenku described the death as sad for the entire nation describing Nkaissery as a friend, a mentor and a father figure.
“I don’t know where to start. I was with him two days ago and for it to happen this morning we have nothing to say that to ask God to rest his soul in peace and to pass our condolences to the President and the family,” Lenku told journalists outside Lee Funeral Home.
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.