NAIROBI, Kenya, June 16 – The late Professor George Satioti has been laid to rest during a memorable farewell ceremony at his Enka-siti farm in Kitengela.
Dignitaries from both sides of the political divide paid a glowing tribute to the deceased Cabinet Minister, recounting his illustrious career in public service, academia and society.
The emotional ceremony was held amid tight security which was attended by cabinet ministers, assistant ministers, legislators, members of the diplomatic corps and senior Government officials.
Thousands of mourners lined up from busy Momasa road, to the streets in Kitengela town to await the passage of the body of their former MP early Saturday morning and later the arrival of the Head of State.
The service took just over seven hours with prayers from the church and eulogies from family, friend’s, government officials and diplomats.
President Mwai Kibaki eulogized the late minister as a close friend and described how his death had personally affected him.
“As a personal friend to whom I entrusted, one of the most crucial dockets in government, the loss of Professor Saitoti has been a painful experience for me,” he said.
“I however, take consolation that though he has sadly left us, he lives behind a rich legacy,” he added.
Echoing the President, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: “Saitoti was an outstanding man because he had already been the Vice President of this nation when I was in the opposition.”
Odinga said Professor Saitoti’s performance in the ministries that he served were a legion noting that in his last assignment as the Minister in Charge of Internal Security Prof Saitoti endeavored to ensure that that the country and its borders were secure.
“When I became the Prime Minister he respected me, we did work very well together, in regards to security matters we used to agree whenever we consulted each other,” he explained.
“His performance has particularly been outstanding in the fight against outlawed groups in the country and terrorism in the country as exemplified by the manner in which he handled sensitive security situations like the war in Somalia and in incidents of terror attacks,” he added.
Saitoti’s wife Margaret shared her thoughts read on her behalf by a friend and described him as a very responsible, supportive family man.
“I appreciated that you would need enormous background support in executing your various responsibilities you needed, I therefore had no reservations in releasing you to the nation,” she said.
“My duty to you as your wife was to provide you with all the support you need. I would like that to be my humble contribution to your success as I rejoiced in the success of your career life,” she added.
His son Zachary lauded Saitoti as the pillar of his life and a great mentor.
“On the fateful day of the accident, I lost my Goliath, rock and dad. As your son you gave me more than I could ever dream of, more than I could ever want,” he stated.
“He was a man of such wonder that he gave the same that he gave to me and his family but also to thousands if not millions of people around the world,” Zachary explained.
Honorable Saitoti died last Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed five other lives, including that of Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode, who will be buried on Sunday.