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Nyagas’s death – a shock to many Kenyans who knew him

Posted by African Press International on April 11, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api

We send our condolences to Nyaga’s loved ones. API Editorial

Jeremiah Nyagah dies

Written By:Wangari Kanyongo/Rose Kamau

Former cabinet minister Jeremiah Nyagah is dead.

The 88 year old Nyagah passed away Thursday morning at the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi after a short illness.

The late Nyagah will be remembered for his political involvement in the history of the country which dates back to the colonial period when he was elected a member of the pre-independence Legislative Council to represent the present-dayEmbu, Mbeere, Muranga, Maragwa, Kirinyaga and Nyeri districts in 1958.

After independence, a number of constituencies were carved out of the six districts, leaving Mr Nyagah to represent Embu South (now Gachoka constituency) in Parliament, a seat he held until his retirement from politics in 1992 at the advent of multipartyism.

Mr Nyagah was succeeded as Gachoka MP by his second-born son, Norman, on the ticket of the opposition Democratic Party.

Norman served for just one term before shifting to Nairobi’s Kamukunji constituency, leaving his elder brother, Joseph, to carry the family flag in Gachoka for Kanu.

Joseph retained the seat in 2002 on a Narc ticket but was defeated in 2007 as he defended the seat on an ODM ticket.

Nyaga’s family is among the most prominent and well known in Kenya’s political landscape.

His eldest son Joseph is a former cabinet Minister and a pentagon member of the Orange Democratic Movement ODM.

His eldest daughter is currently an ambassador while second born son Norman is the former Member of parliament for Kamukunji onstituency and also the former Govt Chief Whip.

His other son Nahashon Nyagah, is a former Governor of the Central Bank while his grandson is Jeremiah Mwaniki Nyagah, the president of the Kenya Youth Coalition Network International.

The senior Nyaga’s wife Eunice Wambeere Nyagah died on October 29th 2006 .

Mzee Jeremiah is considered by Kenyans to be the most humble and honest Cabinet Minister and politician to ever grace Kenyas political landscape.

He acquired his early primary and intermediate education in Embu and Kagumo (Nyeri) before proceeding to the famous Alliance High School, Kikuyu Secondary School in 1937 for four years leading to admission to Makerere College, Uganda in 1940 for a 3 year Diploma.

After Makerere, Nyagah came back to the country to begin a teaching career in January 1994.

Between 1944 to 1958 March, Nyagah taught in schools and colleges and also administered the supervision of education in the Central Province in Kiambu District. During this period, he had a 2-year break when he joined the University of Oxford (in U.K) Dept. of Education for further training (1952-54)

He was elected to LegiCo. (Parliament) in 1958 and served Kenya in that capacity up to January 1992 when he opted to retire from parliamentary politics.

During his tenure in Parliament, he served for 8 years a backbencher (three of which was the 1st elected African Deputy Speaker).

At Kenya’s Uhuru in 1963, Mr. Nyagah served as an Assistant Minister in three ministries, up to 1966 and from 1966 to 1992.

He served in several key full cabinet ministerial posts; among them, Education, Agriculture, Environment and Health.

During his service of 35 years in Kenya’s Parliament, he served in a number of national, regional and international bodies of socio-economic nature.

He also served the church and youth organizations very devotedly especially as the Kenya Scouts Association Chief Commissioner for a number of years and later as the KSA Chief Scout.

Other voluntary organizations he served in include Heart-to-Heart Foundation as a Chairman to the Board and the Kenya Fund for the Disabled.

He also served international organizations like FAO, UNESCO, and UNEP.

Nyaga was also an Honorary Doctor of Letters holder from Egerton University.

Following the death of the former legislator President Mwai Kibaki Thursday sent a message of condolence to the family, relatives and friends.

The President in his message said he had learnt with regret and sorrow the passing on of the retired politician who served the country with diligence, commitment and dedication.

The head of state said “The cruel hand of death has robbed us an illustrious and patriotic man who served the country diligently in various capacities over the years.”

The President said that the late Nyagah would be remembered for the distinguished service he rendered to the Nation noting that the late politician served as Assistant Minister in three Ministries up to 1966 when he was elevated to full cabinet ministerial posts, serving in several key ministries among them, Education, Agriculture, Environment and Health.

President Kibaki said in his condolence message that the late Nyaga not only preached the ideals of patriotism but also embraced and practiced them, endearing himself to his peers and Kenyans in general.

“As we pay homage to the departed soul, let us be encouraged by the fact that the ideals he cherished so dearly will outlive him like in the Kenya scouts Association where he was a long serving Chief Commissioner and later as Chief Scout until his death” The President said.

The late Nyaga retired from active politics in 1992 after serving as a Member of Parliament for 35 years.

Between 1944 and 1958, the late Nyagah taught in schools and colleges and also supervised education in Central Province during which period he earned himself the reputation of a strict disciplinarian and a consummate administrator.

Other messages of condolnce were sent by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and prime minister designate Raila Odinga.

Theleaders paid tribute to the late Nyaga’s ideals of patriotism and his role in the pre-independence Legislative Council.


African Press International – api

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