Top Stories / National
Friday, 30 Jun 2017 15:56 EATakipchumba@kenyafreepress.com
Godffrey Gitahi Kariuki, popularly known as GG Kariuki has passed on today at a Nairobi Hospital where he has been undergoing treatment. The Laikipia County senator died at the age of 79 years.
GG Kariuki was until he took his last breath the incumbent senator of Laikipia County having been elected to the senate on the-now-defunct The National Alliance (TNA) whose party leader was President Uhuru Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta and Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro have joined Kenyans in mourning the Late GG Kariuki following his demise. President Kenyatta described the late Senator as ‘a pragmatic leader who immensely contributed to the liberation and growth of Kenya.’
“Senator Kariuki is one of the few leaders in the country who despite his age continued to play a key role in shaping the country’s future by being a voice of reason where there were endless arguments on national issues,” President Kenyatta said in his message.
“The contribution of the late Senator GG Kariuki will forever be engrained in our minds and history books. As a young leader during independence, he played a key role in resolving land conflicts and the resettlement of squatters, particularly in Laikipia, as well as standing for the rights of all Kenyans where he felt they were being trampled by those in authority, “ said President Kenyatta.
The President said the late senator not only played a major role in the struggle for independence but was also a key player in the growth of democracy in Kenya.
“He was also at the centre of second liberation together with other leaders who championed for true democracy in our country. As a nation we are truly indebted to him and other founding fathers of our nation,” said the President. President Kenyatta said Senator Kariuki considered the interests of the general public extremely important than those of few individuals who cared for their own interests.
On his part; Ethuro said he received a message on Kariuki’s death ‘with great shock and disbelief.’
In a statement sent to newsrooms, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro who is out of the country on official duty says ‘the late senator who is a political mentor to many will be missed by many in Parliament.’ He says his prayers and those of the Senate are with the family at this trying and difficult moment and prays that his soul may rest in eternal peace.
The departed politician who is the author of the book, The Illusions of Power, will be indelibly etched in the memories of multitudes of Kenyans for serving as a member of parliament for twenty  uninterrupted years, since his election in 1963. This, in all consciences, tells volumes about the veteran politician’s leadership styles and perhaps rare personal bonhomie and endearment for his constituents.
The 1938 – born politician contributed to formation of the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU) in May 1960, and was elected the chairman of Laikipia Branch.
When Kenya got independence in 1963, the veteran politician was elected the Member of Parliament for the area. In the year 1969, the late G.G Kariuki was appointed as Assistant Minister for Lands, Settlement and Physical Planning.
A physical fitness enthusiast, Kariuki in his early years helped introduce the Korean martial arts, Taekwondo, into Kenya.
He attended primary school in Lariak and joined Kiamwangi Secondary School in Thika, but his education was interrupted by the declaration of the State of Emergency in 1952, after which he joined the struggle for independence.
The former University of Nairobi Student, GG Kariuki was also appointed as a minister in the office of the president, in charge of Internal Security and Provincial Administration after the demise of the founding president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1978. GG Kariuki was later transferred to his former Ministry of Lands, Settlement and Physical Planning by Moi’s government.
In 1959 GG Kariuki enrolled for Diploma in Health Sciences in the same year he jumped onto a Kenya’s political bandwagon; at a time when, according to what he told the Journalist Brigid Chemweno, “Uhuru Kenyatta was not even a rumor.”
What stands out even more predominantly in the veteran politician’s marathon-like political journey is the fact that he has served all four of Kenya’s presidents.
In the domain of academics, it is worth noting that GG Kariuki has left no stone unturned in his striking quest for knowledge. Yes, in 1985 Mr. Kariuki enrolled for certificate of membership as a student of Administrative Accountant. As part of polishing up and adding a new splendor to his CV, the late GG Kariuki earned his Doctorate Degree from University of Nairobi, after studying International Relations. He was then aged 76 – Of course featuring as one of the oldest grandaunts to be awarded PhD.
His penchant for education and insatiable desires for higher learning underscores, with marked precision, why the late GG Kariuki chopped onto books even at an old age. In his strong believe in compatibility of politics with education, the departed Laikipia Senator was once quoted by the media saying: “Politics and academic development are interdependent. They don’t necessarily conflict.
“Modern politics requires educated men and women. Degree is bound to enhance thinking and vision of a leader. Although I have been in politics for Many years and I know hold a PhD Degree, I know that the most important thing is how you can apply the knowledge acquired to deliver,” said the aged Senator soon after graduating at University of Nairobi as he responded to the journalist’s questions asking him how he juggled between politics and academics.
The departed senator will linger in the minds of millions for umpteenth years for the pivotal role he played in the settlement of the landless people in Laikipia which was previously part of the white highlands. There, he formed a company known as Laikipia West Farmers Company which was the fulcrum in the settlement of thousands of small scale farmers in Laikipia.
In 1966, moved by the troubling woes of the landless in the Republic of Kenya, Senator GG Kariuki had endeavored to sway policy by bringing a motion to the legislative chamber [parliament] which graphically sought to establish a policy that no land for settlement would cost more than KS10,000 per acre. This motion led to the formation of an inquiry to look into and make recommendation to the government on the price of land for settlement.
The late senator for Laikipia had proposed that the government compulsorily acquire all lands owned by foreigners to be used for settlement of the landless people, this favored the policy of the willing buyer willing seller.
Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press