Kenyans yesterday woke up to the news of the death of yet another prominent leader, former Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) chairman Bethwel Kiplagat. He was 81.
Ambassador Kiplagat’s death could not have come at worse time considering that the grim reaper has in the past week claimed the lives of three other leaders — Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph Nkaissery, former Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott and Laikipia Senator GG Kariuki.
The news of Kiplagat’s death was broken by his son, Richard Kiplagat, who said his father passed on at 5.15am at the Nairobi Hospital. The diplomat, he said, had been in and out of hospital since last year but his health deteriorated in the past month.
Social media was inundated with claims that July was replacing August as the month of tears and sorrow. President Uhuru Kenyatta led the country in mourning Kiplagat.
Others who sent message of condolences were Deputy President William Ruto and retired Presidents Moi and Kibaki. Moi said he received the news of Kiplagat’s death with shock and disbelief.
He described him as a patriotic Kenyan who gave his best to the service of this nation. Kiplagat will be remembered for his sober approach to issues, which put him in good stead for the TJRC position.
He will also be remembered for his mediation skills. He held high profile positions in Moi’s administration including Foreign Affairs PS, ambassador to France and High Commissioner to Britain. —NOAH CHEPLOEN