Kenyan Senator GG Kariuki representing the Laikipia County was pronounced dead on Friday 30th June 2017. He was aged 79
Kariuki died at a Nairobi city hospital where he was receiving treatment. According to his family, Kariukji was admitted to the hospital after suffering health complications. Kariuki who was a member of the National Alliance Party was the oldest Kenyan Senator.
The Deputy Speaker of the Senate Kembi Gitura sent condolences to his family on behalf of the Senate House.
In memory of the veteran politician, we take a look at some facts about his life and illustrious political career.
GG Kariuki Bio And Education
He was born as Godffrey Gitahi Kariuki on 12 December 1938 in the then colonised Kenya. He is survived by wife Nyina wa Mwangi, and children Manthenge, Waigwa, Mwangi, and Mubia.
The details of GG’s early education aren’t known, however, from our findings, we’ve discovered that he studied for a Diploma in Health Studies in 1959.
In 1985 he received a Certificate of membership from the Institute of Administrative Accountant. GG has a Masters Degree in International Studies.
In 2015, at the age of 75, GG enrolled at the University of Nairobi and obtained a PhD in International Relations in 2016.
Speaking of his doctorate in 2016, GG said he did it to show the youths that age should not be a limitation.
“it can be done…I am showing you that everything is possible and at any time,” the senator said.
GG Kariuki Political Career
Kariuku took part in the development of Kenya’s politics before and after the nation gained Independence.
In his autobiography “The Illusion of Power: Reflections on Fifty Years in Kenya Politics,” (2001) Kariuki revealed that his activity in politics dates back 1952 when he was just 14 years old.
As a teenager, Kariuki became a member of Revolutionary Council-Pre-Independence Movement (Mau-Mau).
As a delegate of Central Rift Labour Party, Kariuki participated in the formation of the Kenya Africa National Union in 1960 and was made the chairman of the Laikipia branch.
KANU was key in the movement to bring Kenya her Independence in 1963. With KANU as the sole political party to govern the nation, Kariuki was elected to the National Assembly. He was re-elected to the seat in 1969. Kariuku served as the MP for Laikipia West until 1983.
Kariuki rose to prominence in the late 1960s thanks to his role in helping the landless settle in areas in Laikipia that previously belonged to the whites.
As a result, he was by the Kenyatta administration appointed to serve as the Assistant Minister of Lands, Settlement and Physical Planning in 1970. He served in the position till 1979 when he was again appointed to serve as Minister of State for Internal Security and Provincial Administration.
From 1982 to 1983, Kariuki again served as the Minister of Lands and Settlement under the Daniel Arap Moi-led administration.
Kariuku was removed from active politics in 1983 after he was expelled from KANU. From then on, he became what he described as a political outsider. From 1993 to 1977 he was a Nominated Member of Parliament.
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In 2003 he was again elected as the MP for Laikipia West, serving for one term until 2007.
He entered the Kenyan Senate in 2013, a post he held until his death in June 2017.
FUN FACTS AND TRIVIA
Kariuki once credited his long life to the fact that he was an active martial artist.
In 2015, his surprising speech at the burial of former Laikipia County Assembly Majority Leader, Ephraim Mwangi Kamakia made the headlines.
By this period, Kariuku was under fire for retaining a political seat at a very old age. Many had criticized his physical appearance as he had begun walking with a limp.
At the burial, he was advising the people on how they could live long when he said;
“Najua mnashindwa kwa nini huyu mzee anatembea kama ako na ile kitu tunaita kaswende….“Lakini hii imeletwa na ile sport mimi hupenda na yenye imenifanya niishi hii maisha yote.”
TRANSLATED: “I know you are wondering why this old man is walking like a man suffering from syphilis (referring to his limp)…..this is a result of my love for martial arts, a sport which has made it possible for me to live this long.”
The message was perceived as inappropriate for a funeral setting and rather insulting to the deceased who died from a heart attack after collapsing at the Laikipia stadium while giving a speech on Jamhuri Day.
Kariuku also added;
“It is my life and if I stop engaging in martial arts, I will certainly be looking forward to my burial”
He added a joke saying; “Even if I am limping and leaders behind me gang up and attempt to attack, you will be shocked by what will happen to them.”
In April 2017, that is months to his death, about 10 aspirants for the Laikipia Senate seat had vowed to axe him from the seat and prevent his reelection citing that he was getting too old and frail for the job.
GG Kariuki has undoubtedly left his footprints in the sands of time and his legacy would surely live on. RIP