Nyachae eulogised as a statesman
Hillary Mageka and Geoffrey Mosoku
Former powerful Cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae, who died yesterday, has been eulogised as a statesman and one of the country’s most illustrious public servants.
Nyachae died yesterday at the Nairobi Hospital, six days to his 89th birthday.
The former Nyaribari Chache Member of Parliament and Gusii political kingpin had been admitted to the hospital for over a month, battling prostate cancer.
Nyachae’s eldest son, who is a judge of the East African Court of Justice, Charles, broke the news of his father’s death, extending his appreciation to doctors and nurses who have been attending to him during his 10-year battle with the disease.
“We want to confirm that our father Simeon Nyachae has rested here in Nairobi Hospital after a long illness bravely.
We want to confirm that,” Charles told journalists at the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.
He went on: “We want thank God for his life and what he has been able to do to our family.
“We want to record our appreciation as a family to Nairobi Hospital, doctors and nurses who have looked after Mzee for not only the weeks he has been admitted but for the previous occasions he has needed medical attention,” added Charles.
Charles also revealed that he had contacted President Uhuru Kenyatta who conveyed his condolences to the family.
“I spoke to the President and we appreciate his concern and all other friends who have stood by us,” he said.
The President led Kenyans in eulogising Nyachae, describing him as an icon of Kenya’s progress through the years.
In his message, the Head of State said Nyachae’s successful transition from public service to the world of business and politics was a demonstration that focus and hard work pays.
The President noted that Nyachae’s death had robbed Kenya of a wise statesman whose long service to the nation helped shape the country’s standing as one of Africa’s most progressive economies.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Mzee Simeon Nyachae, a distinguished son of Kenya, a friend and a man whose contribution to the making of the Kenyan nation will remain with us for eternity.
“Throughout his many years of service to the nation, right from his time in the provincial administration through to his transition into business and politics, Mzee Nyachae exhibited exemplary zeal to succeed and as he exits from this world, he leaves behind a rich legacy of success,” President Uhuru said.
Deputy President William Ruto described Nyachae as a progressive, selfless and steadfast leader, who was genuinely passionate about public service, politics and uniting people for a common cause.
“A gifted administrator, entrepreneur and politician of large intellect, Mzee Nyachae was vocal and a tenacious debater whose domination in our country’s political stage will be dearly remembered,” Ruto said.
“He was a passionate, indefatigable and forthright operator whose affable disposition and wit earned him friends and foes alike.
He was a philanthropist, who took pleasure in helping the needy in society.”
Retired President Mwai Kibaki described Nyachae as a “sure-footed bureaucrat” who served three presidencies with distinction and is best remembered as an astute administrator.
“I have received the news of the passing on of Simeon Nyachae, no doubt one of Kenya’s most illustrious public servants with sadness.
I pray that the his family and friends find the Almighty God’s inestimable peace and comfort during this trying moment,” said Kibaki.
Nyachae competed against Kibaki in the 2002 presidential election and later incorporated his troops into the post 2005 referendum cabinet to shore up numbers after sacking “rebel” ministers allied to the then Liberal Democratic Party led by The Orange party chief Raila Odinga.
Raila, on the other hand, said the Abagusii community had lost one of its most illustrious sons.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i joined Nyachae’s family at the Lee Funeral Home to convey the sad news to the nation, describing the fallen politician variously as a mentor, role model and a teacher.
“Mzee Simeon Nyachae was many things to many people, but he was my mentor, role model and foremost teacher.
An accomplished administrator, endowed counsellor and pillar of leadership. I will miss him in a very personal way,” said Matiang’i.
The CS revealed that the President had been constantly updated on Nyachae’s health and also kept close contact with the family. “The President remains focused in supporting the family going forward,” the CS added.
After CS Matiang’i left Lee Funeral Home minutes past 3pm, police from the General Service Unit were deployed at the facility.
Matiang’i led senior Government officials to Nyachae’s Loresho home to start burial arrangements.
People Daily established that Nyachae’s health rapidly deteriorated a few days ago and by last night, his organs started failing, prompting the medics attending him to summon his family to the hospital yesterday morning for consultations.
Charles, who had travelled to Kisii to attend the burial of the father of Kisii Deputy governor Joash Maangi, was forced to cut short his trip and fly back to Nairobi.
Matiang’i, who was also scheduled to attend the same burial, was forced to abandon his trip and join the family in Nairobi.
As the news of Nyachae’s death filtered in, Raila interrupted his speech at the burial of Maangi’s father and urged the gathering to pray for the Kisii political supremo, stating that “unconfirmed” reports indicated the political and business supremo was dead.
But speaking after Raila, Ruto announced that the veteran politician had passed on, sending the gathering into mourning.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka described Nyachae as a firm administrator, a charismatic leader and consummate politician, who was an inspiration to many people, including himself.
“I consider it a privilege to have served as a District Officer in Keumbu, the home division of Mr Nyachae (from early 1989 to 1992), when he was a respected Abagusii political kingpin in the region,” Lusaka said.
“We celebrate him for his selfless and distinguished service to the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Nyachae wore many hats: A long serving civil servant who rose the apex of the Public Service and Cabinet minister straddling the Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki governments.
He also ran a multi-billion businesses empire. He has vast interests in horticulture, banking, real estate, insurance, milling and confectionery business.
Nyachae had three wives with over 20 children. His first wife, Esther, died in 2016. His other wives are Grace Wamuyu and Martha Nyachae.
Besides Charles, his other children include Kenneth Bitange, Mary, Rosemary and Lee Nyachae of Lee Construction.