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A true General: Athletics world mourns Joseph Nkaissery

Saturday July 8 2017

From left: Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, his Sports counterpart Hassan Wario and World Under-18 Championships Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani when they toured the venue on July 1,  2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

From left: Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, his Sports counterpart Hassan Wario and World Under-18 Championships Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani when they toured the venue on July 1, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Like a typical army General, the late Cabinet Secretary of State for Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaissery made an impromptu raid at Kenyatta University, the venue for the World Under-18 Championships athletes’ village on Saturday.

The dry run was scheduled for 2pm but Nkaissery, a former Major General in the Kenya Defence Forces, was at the venue shortly after 9.30am, to the surprise of the top World Under-18 Local Organising Committee members.

Nkaissery, who has represented the Kenyan Parliament team in long distance races in regional athletes’ championships, went through the six hotels, dining hall and other recreational facilities at the varsity that will be used by the athletes.

With Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario struggling to catch up with the fit General, Nkaissery occasionally put the LOC chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee and chairman Jackson Tuwei, also a retired former Lieutenant General, to task over unfinished areas at Kenyatta University.

Nkaissery would then make his way to the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani to assess the facilities at the 60,000 seater arena.

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Interestingly, instead of using the main entrance to the Stadium, he used the entry from the Thika Road Mall (TRM) to assess the construction work on the access road that will be used mainly by the technical officials.

Nkaissery wasn’t happy with the rubbles left behind by the constructors hence Muthee had to assure him that they would be cleared on time for the next dry run that was due on Monday.

The former Kajiado North MP’s next stop was at the warm up track that was still being laid and the field events warm up area where he was a little bit concerned with the slow work but the Italian engineers assured him that the track would be ready on time.

Nkaissery made it to the main arena where he inspected the dressing rooms and the track that was due to be marked.

Even after First Lady Margaret Kenyatta toured the facilities to officially receive the Athletes Village keys on Monday, Nkaissery toured the two venues on Thursday and Friday to ensure what LOC promised had been implemented.

That is the zeal and passion that drove Nkaissery, whose desire was for Kenya to stage one of the most successful events, surpassing the standards set during the 1987 Africa Games and 2007 World Cross Country Championships.

“We are satisfied with the work that has so far been completed and what is remaining is something to do with mopping and sprucing up,” said Nkaissery.

“We wanted to make a surprise dry run and I am not disappointed with what I have seen.”

While paying tribute to Nkaissery, Tuwei said that they have been best of friends since the day they joined the army together on April 11, 1973. The two rose through the ranks to the position of a Major General.

“Nkaissery left as a Major General to join politics in 2002 while I stayed on to be promoted to Lieutenant General until my retirement in 2010,” said Tuwei.

“It’s a sad morning.”

Tuwei said Nkaissery was instrumental in seeing that there was development and progress at Kasarani and Kenyatta University.

“He had a special attachment to the world youth event and we thank him for his efforts. It’s unfortunate that he never lived to see the event happen,” said Tuwei.

Muthee said Nkaissery, 67, died at a time when he was coordinating a seven-ministry Government effort to ready the country for the World youth event.

“It was because of Nkaissery’s efforts that the pace at the two venues picked up. In the last three months, he has ensure the preparations end in time for the championships,” said Muthee.

Muthee said that no place in the country was the news received with shock and sadness than around the World Under-18 Championships fraternity.

“He is a true General who led us in the preparations of the event in an unmatchable effectiveness.”

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