, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Police headquarters is mourning the death of Director of Criminal Investigations Karanja Gatiba who passed away at his Juja Home on Sunday morning.
Initial reports indicated that Mr Gatiba had died after a short illness which was not immediately identified.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere told journalists in Nairobi that the late CID boss was in good health until Sunday morning when he abruptly fell ill and was rushed to the Thika Nursing Home where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“One of his sons went to his bedroom and found him writhing in pain, that is when he called his brother and they rushed him to a hospital in Thika where a doctor pronounced him dead,” Mr Iteere said.
“He was very well yesterday (Saturday) when he left Nairobi to his Juja Home. I am told he spent the evening with two of his sons who also happen to be police officers, before he went to sleep, until this morning when one of his sons went to the bedroom and found him writhing in pain.”
His body was transferred to the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi where a postmortem was expected to be carried out.
“That is the information we have so far, but a postmortem would be carried out to establish the cause of his death,” Mr Iteere said.
Assistant Minister for Housing Margaret Wanjiru who is also Mr Gatiba’s cousin was overcome by emotions on seeing an ambulance which carried the body of her kin.
And in a message of condolence sent from State House Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki eulogised the senior policeman saying “Indeed, with his passing on, the cruel hand of death has robbed of our country a dedicated public servant.”
“As you pay homage to the departed soul of this career police officer, it is my trust that you will also be able to celebrate his life, his achievements and his dedication to our country,” the President said.
There were reports that the late Gatiba was among senior government officials who were scheduled to meet the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo who arrived in Kenya on Sunday morning, but police headquarters dismissed the reports.
“This is a big loss to the police force, he was such a dedicated officer to his work,” said Mr Julius Ndegwa, the Head of Police Operations at Police Headquarters.
Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi said “I was so shocked when I received the sad news and could not even believe.”
Richard Katola, the Head of the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU) said “It is a sad day for us.”
Charlton Mureithi who heads the Personnel Department at Police Headquarters said “We pray to God to give his family strength, it is a big loss to us all as the force and his family.”
Former CID Director Joseph Kamau described the deceased as a “dedicated officer who will be missed because of his good character and track record at work.”
The late Gatiba who previously headed police in the Coast Province was appointed to head the CID in 2006 when he was elevated by President Mwai Kibaki to replace Mr Kamau who had retired.
Previously, the late Gatiba headed the Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) having risen through the ranks since 1974 when he joined the police force.
He had served in the police force for 36 years and was the 13th to serve in that position since the CID was established in 1935.