Uhuru, Moi and Kenya mourn peace crusader Bethuel Kiplagat

Friday July 14 2017

Bethuel Kiplagat. He spent several years championing peace and reconciliation in Kenya and beyond. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Kenya is mourning the passing of career peace campaigner Bethuel Kiplagat.

Mr Kiplagat died on Friday, aged 80, at a Nairobi hospital after long illness.


The Council of Governors (CoG) remembered Mr Kiplagat for his peace and reconciliation campaigns.

“We are grateful for the work of Ambassador Kiplagat as a distinguished civil servant, envoy, the Somali peace process and chairman of Truth Justice Reconciliation Commission (TJRC),” CoG Chairman Josephat Nanok said in a statement.

“He was a selfless man whose actions touched many lives; with his passing on, humankind is poorer."


Retired President Daniel arap Moi, under whom Mr Kiplagat served, said he learnt of this passing with shock and disbelief.


Mzee Moi described his former permanent secretary as a patriotic Kenyan who gave the best of his abilities to the service of this nation.

He said Mr Kiplagat’s humility and love for this country saw him rise to the highest levels of the civil service and diplomacy.

The peace crusader, Mr Moi said, would be remembered for many good things he undertook for the good of Kenya and its people.

President Kenyatta mourned Kiplagat, describing him as a great  Kenyan diplomat and a refined peace crusader who served the country with dedication in various capacities. 

In his message to the family, President Kenyatta said Mr Kiplagat would be remembered as a committed, dedicated and courageous person who was passionate in serving the country. 

“Ambassador Kiplagat was a very humble yet firm public servant who never shied away from stating what he felt was of importance to the country,” said the President.


President Kenyatta recalled how the renowned diplomat championed peace and conflict resolution in the region and Africa at large.

“Ambassador Kiplagat has been keen to see all societies living at peace with one another through his personal initiatives as director of Africa Peace Forum,” he said. 

The Head of State said the late Kiplagat was determined to unite all Kenyans irrespective of their ethnic, colour or creed. 

“He never wanted our differences to derail our focus on nation building but rather to use our diversity to strengthen our brotherhood and nationhood,” said the President. 

His fruits of labour, said the President, can be seen in  his efforts to restore stability in the  region. 


“The late Kenyan diplomat facilitated dialogue and peace talks between warring parties in countries like Ethiopia and Mozambique. 

"He was a resource person to the IGAD peace process for Sudan and has been advising Sudanese civil societies on conflict resolution apart from facilitating peace talks in Uganda in 1985-1986,” said President Kenyatta.

Nasa Co-Principal Moses Wetangula said he remembers the late ambassador “for his colossal contributions to regional peace building and to the world of diplomacy.”

“The world will remember Ambassador Kiplagat as a consummate peacemaker and diplomat extra-ordinaire,” he said in a statement.

The stretch of his life and career, Mr Wetangula said, tells of a man who gave himself to the course of promoting peace between communities and nations.


“I am personally most indebted to him for his generous insights and invaluable advice on regional issues and specifically Somalia during the time I served as the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister,” he said.

“Ambassador Kiplagat is a citizen of the world whose respect transcends national borders. He is credited with bringing Ethiopia’s two warring parties to the negotiating table in 1990 as well as facilitating peace talks in Mozambique and Uganda.”

His death, sad as its, he said, is an open invitation for Kenyans to have a candid conversation with ourselves on what kind of nation we are building and a challenge to the leadership to take courageous and bold step to implement the TJRC Report.

“This we must do – both as a favour to ourselves and in honour of the fallen Ambassador!” he said.

Reported by Eunice Kilonzo, Harry Misiko, PSCU, Dave Opiyo and Eric Matara.