enya is coming to terms with the sudden death of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Saturday morning.
Government and private sector leaders, relatives, friends and ordinary Kenyans expressed shock at the passing on of the minister described by many as one of the “most dedicated” and “industrious” leaders in the Jubilee government.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale described the death of Major General (Retired) Nkaissery as “tragic”.
“(His death) is a big loss to the country coming at a time when he was preparing various security agencies to ensure peace prevails during elections,” he said at the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.
He said he spoke to the fallen minister on Thursday morning before he left for Jubilee Party campaigns in Bomet County and Jemedari, as he was popularly known in government circles, "was in high spirits".
He described the late minister as a “father, elder and a very hard-working man.”
Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki said Nkaissery would be remembered as the minister who turned around our Kenya's security.
Before he took over from Mr Joseph Lenku at the Interior docket, Kenya was facing a spiralling terrorism and insecurity wave and he had made major strides in arresting it.
“A great son of Kenya who had previously served our beloved country in the military and as a MP, Hon Nkaissery was one of the top performing Cabinet Secretaries in President Uhuru Kenyatta's Administration,” he said.
“May God grant Hon Nkaissery's family, friends, the Maasai community and Kenyans at large fortitude as we mourn the death of a great Kenyan.”
Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok eulogised Nkaissery as a man who restored Kenyans’ faith in the power of the state to protect them from terror attacks.
Mr Nanok said that soon after Nkaissery was appointed the Interior minister, he “quickly stamped his authority”.
“The late Gen Nkaissery will be remembered for his uncompromising stand on matters of security, having inherited the docket at the height of Al-Shabaab militia attacks in the country,” Mr Nanok said in a statement to newsrooms, noting that he had learnt of the minister’s death “with great sadness”.
“On behalf of the Council of Governors and the county governments, I convey my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late Joseph Nkaissery. We share in the great loss of a great, selfless and dedicated leader and may our prayers serve as comfort during this trying time,” stated Mr Nanok.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen mourned the late minister, saying he was the man who restored sanity in Kenya’s security sector.
Kwale Governor Salim said he was shocked by Nkaissery’s death.
“I have known Nkaissery as a focused leader who urged those who worked with him to perform their duties within the law,” he said.
“Kenyans will miss his patriotism, loyalty, and steadfastness.”
Nairobi County Speaker Alex Ole Magelo said he was with Nkaissery on Friday and he did not show any signs of ill health.
Tharaka- Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa said the “cruel hand of death has robbed Kenya and the government a dedicated patriot who handled security issues professionally with passion”.
“The people of Tharaka Nithi County join all Kenyans in mourning Nkaissery, whose approach to security challenges and conflicts was most admirable,” he said.
“We also grief with the Maasai community for losing a champion of their rights and interests.”
Narok North MP Moitalel Ole Kenta said “was an inspiration and asset to the Kenyan people in general and the Maasai people in particular”
“His tireless efforts to rid this country of disruptive and destructive elements will remain the reference and definitive point in our history. He did his job well and for that we shall always be grateful for his life,” he said.
Narok Governor Samuel Tunai mourned the death of the Maa elder, saying it had “lowered the cloud of sorrow upon the whole nation”.
“He was a personal friend and confidant, a man whose counsel guided me, still. No consolation can relieve us of the pain brought upon us by this heart-breaking loss,” he said.
"To President Kenyatta; to his immediate family; to his team and colleagues in the ministry, and altogether to the people of Kenya, the people of Narok County and I join you in mourning this gallant public servant.”
Narok West MP Patrick Ntutu said the passing on of the minister was “a big blow to our Maa community and Kenya at large.”
“But he looked well yesterday in the Uhuru Park function. We are waiting to hear from the government on the cause of his death. It pains us when our leaders die and we get no answers,” he said.
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto said he learned with shock and disbelief of the passing on of the Interior CS.
“On behalf of Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM),the people of Bomet County, on my own behalf and my family, I wish to pass my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late CS,” he said.
He described Nkaissery as “a gallant soldier, a gifted intellect, as a patriotic, incisive and eloquent legislator, fearless leader and servant”.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said he has “fond memories of the late CS when we served together as ODM MPs.
“General Nkaissery was a hard-working and dedicated servant of the people,” he said.
“On my behalf and that of the people of Mombasa together with the ODM family I assure his family and friends of our support at this critical moment.”
Reports by Elvis Ondieki, Stella Cherono, Harry Misiko, Patrick Lang'at, Joan Pereruan, Alex Njeru, Ruth Mbula, George Sayagie, Mohamed Ahmed and Justus Wanga.