KENYA’S Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Gen Joseph Nkaissery died early Saturday morning after being taken to hospital a couple of hours earlier.
Gen Nkaissery, 67, was coordinating a seven-ministry Government effort to ready the country for the IAAF World U18 Championships in Nairobi between July 12 and 16 and had impressed everybody with his efficient speed and great work on infrastructure at the competition venue -- Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani -- and the Athletes Village, Kenyatta University.
It was because of Gen Nkaissery’s supervision efforts, pace of work at the two venues picked up from well behind schedule and in the last three months -- since the country won the hosting bid over two years ago –and were transformed to functional status barely in time for the championships starting next Wednesday.
No place in the country was the news received with bigger shock, sadness and miss than around the World U18 Championships fraternity. The Local Organising Committee issued an immediate statement paying tribute to “a true General who led us in the preparations of the event in an unmatchable effectiveness.”
The LOC said they were determined to deliver a successful event to thank Gen Nkaissery’s contribution. In the latest news, President Kenyatta appointed as Gen Nkaissery’s acting replacement, Dr Fred Matiang’i the equally acclaimed efficient Cabinet Secretary for Education.
Gen Nkaissery was well enough to attend a public prayer service at Nairobi main central park -- Uhuru Park-- on Friday afternoon before going to Karen Hospital for a medical check-up. He died at dawn on Saturday and Kenyans woke up to the shocking news.
There was shock and sadness about a figure described as a good person of unique characters. Messages started streaming describing the country’s loss of “worker, a dedicated person who had been careful with the nation’s security. Others described him as a close friend, a great man and leader. Others said “we are praying for his family. He was a good man”.
Gen Nkaissery was once a national assembly representative of Kajiado Central where residents said they have lost “a father figure in our county.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday morning chaired a special Cabinet meeting before heading to Lee Funeral Home where Gen Nkaisery’s body is laid.
LOC, IAAF WORLD U18 CHAMPIONSHIPS’ TRIBUTE TO GEN JOSEPH NKAISERY:
“We pay tribute to a true General; a General to the word. At a late period in our work, he came in, rallied the troops and it was an entire change in the working mood of LOC, Ministry of Sport, Culture and the Arts and six ministries in an inter-ministerial mobilisation.
“His unique and clear style of management impressed all of us and it will live in our minds. His organizational skills were out of this world; he energised and organized many heads; he had tons of energy, imagination and creativity. We honestly could not have made the strides we did without his contribution.
“Touched by the news of demise, everybody at the LOC, Government departments, contractors, consultants and volunteers involved in the championships pledge to redouble efforts to fulfill Gen Nkaisery’s goals. We quote what he used to repeat to us: ‘We must deliver these championships beyond expectations’”
“We promise to do that and may God grant our leader General, fellow Kenyan, father, brother to family and friend of many, a rest in peace.”
Chief Executive Office
Local Organising Committee, IAAF World U18 Championships, 2017