, Nairobi, Kenya, Feb 24 – Grief and shock gripped Kenyans on Friday morning following the death of yet another top politician, former Cabinet Minister and Kiambaa MP Njenga Karume.
President Mwai Kibaki who has lost two of his close allies since he went to the UK to attend a conference on Somali sent message of condolence to the family and friends of Karume just three days after condoling with Environment Minister John Michuki’s family.
Kibaki said despite his failing health, Karume exhibited great courage and passion for what he believed in.
He stated that he shared great moments with him as a political ally and that he will be missed dearly: “We thank God for the great moment we shared with a fine gentleman and political ally that Karume was to me and my family, and political associates and followers.”
Karume died after battling with prostate on Friday morning at the Karen hospital where he had been admitted after his condition deteriorated.
The Head of State further described him as an astute businessman and a quintessential Kenyan who rose from humble beginnings to build a business and political empire through sheer hard work and determination.
In a statement, President Kibaki recalled that two weeks ago he had visited Karume at his home in Kiambu County.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga also in his condolence message regretted Karume’s death and described him as a “hardworking man who rose from poverty to a successful businessman.”
He further acknowledged Karume’s contribution in nation building describing him for his committed patriotism.
“Once again, death has robbed our country of a leader who has symbolised the aspirations of generations of our people. We have lost a self made man who remained a true example of what we can attain through sheer determination to beat poverty. I have Karume as a voice of reason, a man whose presence brought calm and stability to otherwise turbulent situations,” the premier asserted.
Speaker Kenneth Marende and Clerk Patrick Gichohi described Mr Karume as a humble and industrious leader who was respected by colleagues, associates and competitors alike.
They said the Defence Minister’s hard work and acumen was visible in his work as an MP as well as his stint in the cabinet.
Marende said Kenya had lost a person whose determination was an inspiration to many.
“Hon Karume will be remembered for his industry and humbleness. The country has lost one of its foremost and hard working leaders,” Marende said.
While Gichohi who knew Karume in early 1980’s described him as a friendly MP who was measured in his thoughts and guided his colleagues like an elder statesman.
Former President Daniel arap Moi who termed Karume as a “hardworking and focused businessman said Karume was a humble man despite his high social and economic status.”
“His life was a case study of the rewards of hard work and tenacious determination. He remained affable. He was always in touch with the ordinary people.”
Employees working in one of Karume’s hotel received news of Karume’s death with shock, describing him as a generous, hardworking and understanding boss.
“He was a very understanding boss, we feel so bad because he was always there, he was a hands on boss, and whenever we had problems he was always there to intervene. I don’t know if I should start looking for another job or not,” one employee said.
Businessman Chris Kirubi also sent his message of condolence to Karume’s family.
“This is indeed a very sad week. My heart goes out to the family of Hon Njenga Karume. Like the Late Michuki, he was a dear friend to me,” Kirubi said in his message.
Many Kenyans have also sent their condolences to his family remembering Karume as a man who made immense contribution in the country.
“It is a sad day for Kenya, the other day we lost Michuki. Karume is a veteran who is among the people who brought this country where it is now. It is so sad especially for the family, they need to have courage and life has to continue,” a Kenyan interviewed on the city streets said.
Those interviewed by Capital News also said Karume will be remembered for what he did during his tenure both as a cabinet minister and Member of Parliament for Kiambaa.