, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 30 – A sombre mood engulfed the residence of Public Works Principal Secretary the late Mariam El Maawy, where senior government officials joined her relative to commemorate her life ahead of burial at Lang’ata Muslim cemetery.
The PS, a mother of one, was hailed as a dedicated and humble public servant, who died while in the line of duty in Lamu County on July 14, after her vehicle was hijacked by Al-Shabaab militia.
He daughter Leila El Maawy, in an emotional tribute to her mother, said she has not only lost a parent, but also a mentor and a friend.
“She sacrificed so much for the well-being of her family, my grandmother, for me…we will all always love her. If she was here, she would have asked; all this for me? She was such a selfless person who never expected anything in return for everything she gave,” a teary Leila said.
“I can only hope to be half the person she was. We all love you so much mother and we will miss you.”
Senior government officials present included Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amina Mohamed, Rachael Omamo, Jacob Kaimenyi, Dan Kazungu and Najib Balala.
The Defence CS said the country has lost a devoted public servant who was a humble but courageous person, more so while discharging her duties.
“In Mariam, there was so much beauty, humility, gentleness, and so much love. When we heard that Mariam has passed, we wept because she was such a gentle soul and she suffered so much,” CS Omamo said.
CS Mohamed on her part described the departed PS as, “a close sister and confidant. She was also a strong, effective, selfless, driven and amazing leader. ”
“A loss is complex because it exposes deep grief borne from love, fondness, and admiration. I loved Mariam, I was fond of her and admired the leader that she was.”
The PS was attacked as she visited families displaced by terrorism.
“Mariam will forever be remembered by all of us who loved her, worked with her, admired her and were led by her,” she said.
Her vehicle was hijacked at Milihoi on the Mpeketoni-Lamu road by Al-Shabaab terrorists leading to a major security operation by police and military personnel but sustained injuries when the vehicle caught fire after it rolled.
Her nephew was among those killed in the attack.
She is the latest victim of the Somalia-based terror group that has staged numerous attacks in Lamu where they often target security forces. More than 100 locals have also been killed since the beginning of the year.
The group is also blamed for attacks in northern Kenya and the capital Nairobi where they staged a deadly shooting at the Westgate Shopping Mall, killing 67 people including security forces – in a siege that lasted several hours.
Al Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow a successive internationally-backed government in Mogadishu for the last 10 years, and also carries out occasional terrorist attacks in neighbouring Kenya.