President Uhuru Kenyatta had planned to appoint Joseph Nkaissery the Chief of General Staff had emerged victorious in the 2002 General Election.
Uhuru yesterday told mourners during a funeral service for Nkaissery, who died last Saturday, that he pleaded with the Major General not to quit his position because he intended to appoint him to head the military if he became president.
“We had big plans for him but he had already made up his mind to join elective politics,” Uhuru said at the mass held at the Nairobi Baptist Church. Uhuru was to lose to Narc’s Mwai Kibaki and worked with Nkaissery, who won the Kajiado Central seat in the election, in the Opposition.
The President also disclosed how he and Nkaissery were planning to quit politics after the election and retire together. “As you all know this will be my last election. I told Nkaissery recently that I did not know what I would do when I retire, but he assured me that he would be there to walk into retirement with me,” he said.
Uhuru described the former Cabinet secretary as a man of dignity who was loyal and committed to duty. “We should have the passion of serving the country like General Nkaissery. He loved what he was doing and the people of this country,” the President told mourners who included Nasa presidential running-mate Kalonzo Musyoka.
He added that Nkaissery was a disciplinarian who loved order. Uhuru called on Kenyans not to allow the August 8 election contest to divide them. “It does not matter who will win. What is important is the future of our country,” the Head of State said.
Deputy President William Ruto described Nkaissery as a man of honour and dignity who will be missed by many. He said the former CS was committed to a peaceful election, and urged Kenyans to maintain peace during and after the election in honour of the CS.
His widow, sons and daughters remembered him as a provider who pushed them to achieve their best. “You were a classy guy, a general and a leader. You thought modern day men were nuts with all the lotions, deodorants, but you still liked Calvin Klein shoes and Hugo Boss suits.
You liked chocolate, wine and his customary one scoop of vanilla ice cream,” said his son Andrew in his tribute. Nkaissery widow Helen described her husband as the strongest man she’d ever met but yet sensitive enough to spoil her.
“When you entered a shop to buy something for me you would first check the price to ensure it’s the most expensive because you believed I should have the best,” Hellen recalled.
Nkaissery long-time Kung’u Ngengi narrated how he and the General wanted to desert the army only to be forced to remain by President Jomo Kenyatta.
“The General was a disciplined man who loved his work. While on duty, he would take no more than three beers,” Kung’u, a cousin to President Uhuru, told the mourners.