Warm anecdotes and kind words for departed former Kanu era power man Nicholas Biwott took centre stage during his funeral yesterday. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto led thousands of mourners in paying last respects at his Toot village rural home in Keiyo South constituency, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Addressing the mourners who included cabinet secretaries’ principal secretaries and heads of various state agencies, the President defended the late Biwott against claims he had a hand in the murder of former foreign affairs minister Robert Ouko and other scandals.
During the ceremony, former cabinet minister Henry Kosgey told mourners how influential Biwott was under the former President Moi regime. He recounted how Biwott at one time sent him to represent him at a conference in Lesotho, despite them being Cabinet colleagues.
Kosgey also narrated how Biwott influenced his reappointment to the Cabinet after he had been dropped due to a pending case in court. “When I was reinstated, I went to thank President Moi, but he told me to thank Biwott,” Kosgey said amid laughter.
The Head of State said the late Biwott was a clean man who would never be involved in any dirty schemes or murder as peddled by critics, terming it pure lies. Uhuru said it was not wise to link the late Biwott to the murder of Ouko as there had never been proof and asked people to stop peddling lies that were damaging to his reputation.
The President said he worked closely with the former cabinet Minister who proved to be practical in his approach to public service management.
“I worked under him when he was the Tourism Minister and I was the chairman of Kenya Tourism Board. I can attest to the fact that he was thorough in his performance,” said Uhuru.
Among those in attendance were cabinet secretaries, Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs), Henry Rotich ( National Treasury) Eugene Wamalwa (Water ) and Willy Bett ( Agriculture).
The funeral service, presided over by the head of African Inland Church in Kenya, Bishop Silas Yego, was held at Maria Soti Girls secondary school.
The Deputy President said Biwott successfully managed to ensure his close family members were kept out of the public limelight for the entire period he served in three successive regimes of the founding father Jomo Kenyatta, Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
“It is only the late Biwott who managed to keep secret his close family members, what other men have failed to do, for the period he served in various regimes in the country,” said Ruto. Former Foreign Affairs minister Dr Sally Kosgey described Biwott as a person who did not entertain empty talks while serving in cabinet of retired President Moi.