Tributes pour in for Kenya’s first indigenous AG Njonjo

Monday, January 3rd, 2022 09:00 | By
Smoke rising from Kariokor Crematorium where the remains of Charles Njonjo remains were interred. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

President Uhuru Kenyatta led the nation in mourning independent Kenya first Attorney General Charles Njonjo who died at dawn yesterday at the age of 101.

President Kenyatta said that Kenyans owe a debt of gratitude to Njonjo and his generation of independence era leaders for their selfless contribution to the laying of the solid foundation upon which our country continues to thrive.

“The passing away of Njonjo is a big blow not only to his immediate family, friends and relatives but to all Kenyans and indeed, the entire African continent because of his leading role in the founding of the Kenyan nation at independence,” said President Kenyatta.

The Head of State said that Kenya’s progressive constitutional and legal regime owes its robustness to the former AG’s splendid work when he served as the country’s first post-independence Attorney General between 1963 and 1979, and as Constitutional Affairs Minister between 1980 and 1983.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have received the sad and heartbreaking news of the passing away of Charles Mugane Njonjo.

Njonjo, the only surviving member of Kenya’s independence Cabinet, passed away peacefully at 5am this morning at the age of 101 years,” he said.

He went on: “On behalf of the Kenyan nation, my family and on my own behalf, I send deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and relatives of Njonjo, and indeed all Kenyans.”

Deputy President William Ruto also took to his social media site to convey his condolences.

“Charles Njonjo devoted his life in serving our country in pre-and post-independent Kenya as a civil servant, Attorney-General, Kikuyu MP and Constitutional Affairs Minister. He was knowledgeable, blunt and a dedicated advocate for the causes he believed in,” said Ruto.

He further said that the country will miss the late Njonjo’s wisdom, company and warmth.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Njonjo family, their loved ones and all those who knew and worked with him. Rest In Peace, Njonjo.”

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga also sent his message of condolence saying that Njonjo qualifies as one of the critical founders of the Kenyan nation who helped lay a firm foundation for its institutions and the rule of law.

“Mama Ida and I are heartbroken at the passing of our long-time friend and confidant, former Attorney General Charles Mugane Njonjo.

We pass sincere condolences to his family and friends. Charles was a brilliant legal mind,” said Raila.

Honest and trustworthy

The opposition chief charged that the late Njonjo was a honest and trustworthy human being who fully embraced those he came into their lives, adding that he had a great sense of humour and was legendry when it came to sticking to the rules, whether they were simple rules of life or those governing the country.

“His patriotism and belief in the law helped the country transition smoothly from the founding president Jomo Kenyatta to the second President Daniel arap Moi at a time of great uncertainty and political tension in the country. Our country was lucky to have him at the right place at the right time,” mourned Raila.

According to Raila, Njonjo had over the years become a mentor and advisor to many upcoming and serving leaders and also saw it as his job to advance the next generation of Kenya’s leaders.

“I have personally benefitted immensely from his wisdom and experience. Charles is a testament of the resilience of Kenya as a nation and Kenyans as a people.

He reminded us that life goes on; that politics is not the beginning and the end; that there are no permanent friends or foes; that there are very few things in political life worth dying for or prejudicing others about. He has passed on having made his peace with all.”

Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi said that Njonjo played an instrumental role in the constitutional and legal regime of the independent Kenya, serving as the country’s first post-independence Attorney General.

“I am saddened to learn of the passing on of Charles Mugane Njonjo, one of the country’s early lawyers. played an instrumental role in the constitutional and legal regime of the independent Kenya,” said Mudavadi.

James Charles Nakhwanga Osogo who served in both the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the late Mzee Moi’s Cabinet’s alongside Njonjo also eulogised the late as distinguished, polished and an enigma in Kenya.

“Charles was quite a titan, a distinguished, polished and enigma. Kenya and the legal profession has lost an icon.

I had an opportunity to serve in both Jomo and Moi’s administration. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” said Osogo.

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