, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Flags will fly at half mast for the next three days in Kenya in honour of the late John Michuki, whose burial has been set for Tuesday next week at his rural home in Kangema.
President Kibaki issued the order for the flags to fly at half mast as the family announced the burial ceremony would be preceded by a funeral service at the Kangema stadium.
A requiem mass will also be held for the late minister on Monday at the Consolata Shrine in Nairobi’s Westlands suburb.
Former Information Minister Mutahi Kagwe, who is Michuki’s son- in-law made the announcement after the family received a delegation of MPs and ministers led by House Speaker Kenneth Marende, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Among the preliminary arrangements that the family has agreed upon is the burial date which is Tuesday next week. We will also have a mass starting 2pm on Monday,” said Kagwe.
A Cabinet committee arranging the burial will meet on Thursday morning at the Vice President’s office to plan for the interment, whose costs will be borne by the government.
Marende presented a message of condolence from Parliament describing the late minister as public servant who had left a legacy of hard work and firmness in his discharge of duty.
Marende said that Michuki will be remembered in the House as a stickler to parliamentary rules and procedures who would always rise on a Point of Order to seek the intervention of the Speaker whenever he believed that the provisions of the Standing Orders were being breached.
Among the ministers present at the brief visit were Noah Wekesa (Forestry), Esther Murugi (Special Programmes), Sam Ongeri (Education), Najib Balala (Tourism), Naomi Shaban (Gender), Franklin Bett (Roads), Kiraitu Murungi (Energy) and Njeru Githae (Finance).
Marende also announced that the medical bills for Michuki had already been settled by Parliament.
The VP on his part said the late minister would be remembered as a champion of the rule of law and order in the society.
He particularly cited his role in restoring sanity in the transport sector, particularly in the operation of the matatu industry.
Musyoka described him as an astute, honest, and a straight forward leader worth being emulated by all.
The VP said Michuki’s demise was not only a great loss to his family but a devastating blow to the entire nation.
Elsewhere, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has also mourned the death of the Environment Minister terming him a great supporter of the UN agency.
UNEP Spokesman Nick Nuttall said on Wednesday that Michuki will be remembered for championing the course of Africa at the International level in terms of climate change than any other environment minister in the continent.
During the 2009 Copenhagen Climate change talks, Michuki led the African delegation in stating Africa’s position on the emotive issue.
“We mourn John Michuki’s passing but we also celebrate a life very well lived. And he was a heck of a character; he had an extraordinary sense of humour. I met him on many occasions and he also had a fantastic memory and we are sad that he is gone but we know that he lived a life very worth living,” Nuttall said.
“We lost Wangari (Maathai) as well so we are losing too many great Kenyans but I am sure there are a lot of young Kenyans coming up as well,” he added.
UNEP Major Groups representative in Africa Augustine Njamnishi who was attending the UNEP governing council meeting in Nairobi termed Michuki as focused.
“I have known the Minister as a person who has been very focused, I remember in the run up to these negotiations, we had to interact with him and the Kenyan delegation in general because there were some hot issues that we needed to get them passed across and even though he would defend the interests of his country Kenya, he had this Pan- African view of issues,” he said.
Michuki was supposed to attend the governing council meeting, which is a summit for environment Ministers and a run- up to the Rio+20 conference but could not.
Former President Daniel arap Moi also send his condolences saying that he had received with shock the news of the death of a man he had known from pre-independence days as a courageous man. Moi in a statement said that Michuki performed his public service assignments with “zeal and perfectionism.”
The former president said that he had prayed to God to give the bereaved family, relatives, friends and constituents the necessary fortitude during this time of grief.