By KBC Reporters
Top political leaders put their differences aside Monday to bid farewell to fallen Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachugua at his Mathira home.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Former President Mwai Kibaki and the opposition led by Raila Odinga joined thousands of mourners in paying tribute to the late Gachagua, describing him as a committed true servant of the people.
Mourners started arriving at the home of the late governor as early as 7am as hundreds of others lined up the streets as far as Karatina town to pay their last tribute as the hearse carrying his remains snaked through the streets.
Security was heightened as all mourners were screened before they could be allowed in his compound where the final burial rites took place in an interdenominational ceremony that was led by PCEA moderator Rt. Rev Julius Mwamba.
Majority of the mourners who could not fit in the main tent where the final rites took place followed the proceeding from huge screens mounted at strategic points within the compound.
Area residents were also treated to a rare spectacle as the sleepy village was awakened to rumbling of a flight of helicopters that were dropping dignitaries in the adjacent Kiamariga trading center grounds.
President Kenyatta agreed with his political nemesis, Raila Odinga, on the need to ensure that devolution benefits the local mwananchi as envisaged in the constitution.
He termed Gachagua steadfastness leader who relentlessly championed for welfare of many mostly farmers who form the backbone of the county.
The President challenged Nyeri MCAs to stop their own internal wrangles and allow services to be delivered to the locals.
“I call upon local leaders to help pass the budget because that is the only way we can actualise the dream that Gachagua had,” he said.
The head of state said petty politics in the country assembly was derailing the development momentum in the area.
“The late Gachagua has left a lasting legacy in the agricultural sector as he was truly committed to ensuring value addition to our produce. Governors must be allowed to see their vision through as this is the mandate they have received from their people,” he said.
Deputy President Willaim Ruto eulogized Gachagu as a visionary leader who gave his all for the people, of Nyeri, a man he said would be missed by many.
“You have been a person of integrity & great service to the nation. Kenya will miss you more so people of Nyeri County”
Gachagua’s widows eulogized him as a loving husband who cared for his family.
But like in his life , his differences with the country assembly followed him to the grave after 27 MCAs snubbed the funeral.
Governor Gachagua hit the headlines late last year when he survived impeachment by the assembly after the Senate cleared him of any wrongdoing over abuse of office and funds misappropriation allegations.
He will also be remembered for championing for the rights of farmers especially coffee and tea in the Senate Committee of agriculture committee that he headed.
Gachagua had put up a spirited battle to liberate coffee farmers from the control of intermediaries and cartels by coming up with a pool market for the commodity.
Speaker after speaker eulogized the late governor as a transformative, fearless and astute leader and politician who never spared anyone who stood in his way of achieving his mandate.
Gachagua succumbed to pancreatic cancer at Royal Marsden Hospital in London on February 24.
He leaves behind two widows and four children.