Nyeri county Governor Nderitu Gachagua has died in a London hospital according to his brother, Rigathi Gachagua.
The governor died at around 2.15am with family members at his bedside at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London while undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.
”He has left us after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. It is very sad for the family but we have accepted God’s will,” said Rigathi.
He called his brother’s death a huge loss for the family as he asked Kenyans to add them in their prayers. He further revealed that arrangements were under way to bring the body back home for burial.
Nderitu Gachagua was the first governor of Nyeri in 2013 on a GNU party ticket alongside deputy governor, Wamathai Samwel Githaiga. He won against The National Alliance (TNA) Party which had a mainstay in Central Kenya.
Prior to his governorship, Mr. Gachagua served as a Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency.
During his governorship, Mr. Gachagua faced and survived two impeachment motions. He was accused of misappropriating public funds following revelations by the budget controller.
Gachagua was also accused of dictatorial leadership after he allegedly refused to be questioned over his alleged financial improprieties.
The governor made his last public appearance in November during a tour of Nyeri by President Kenyatta before he supposedly left the country due to failing health.
During his absence, there were rumors that Mr. Gachagua had to not run for re-election. Those close to the governor, however, insisted that he was still in the race, having paid the required party nomination fee.
Nderitu Gachagua Mourners
President Uhuru Kenyatta led the leaders who were mourning the death of the Nyeri Governor. In a statement released, Uhuru said he mourned the loss of Gachagua adding that he was a dedicated public servant.
Opposition leaders Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi described Gachagua as a smart and diligent politician.
Deputy Governor Samuel Wamathai described his boss as ”more than a personal friend.” He said Governor Gachagua would be remembered for his hard work and love for Nyeri people.
”The governor was more than a personal friend and we knew each other even before elections. Even when he was hospitalized, we spoke regularly and almost daily. Last night, he called me and he sounded weak and his death is a shock to the county residents,” said Mr Wamathai.
Samuel Wamathai is now set to be sworn in as Nyeri governor according to the County Governments Act of 2012 which states that if a governor dies, the deputy assumes the top office for the remainder of the term.