“If we allow the forces of darkness and prejudice to divide us again. If we descend into the depths of violence as we did in the aftermath of the last elections, the world will give us No second chance, we will have no excuse. The answer lies in our hands, in the hands of each and every Kenyan.”
On Sunday, while I was en route to Kericho, probably one of the saddest messages I would ever received reached my phone. A close friend asked me to confirm whether hon. Saitoti’s PA who is an ally to both of us was alive.
I was in confusion; I called the PA who did not receive the call. A minute later, he texted, we will talk later, it has happened. Confused, I called a friend in Nairobi and he delivered the worst news. Hon. Saitoti and his assistant had perished.
I choose to remember Hon. Saitoti for I had the privilege of meeting him early on in the year. Clearly an accomplished Kenyan, Saitoti stands out of the political elite because of one thing, he never personalized politics and when I asked him how he felt when Moi fired him as a VP, he only said one thing: He then believed that moving out of KANU was what he had to do. And if it had to cost him the Vice Presidency; then will it was a consequence of his decision.
Saitoti believed in a concept that is rare among politicians, this country needed a greater commitment from its younger citizens. But even more importantly, he is one person who would be willing to facilitate that commitment. I honestly believe that he was one of the best politicians Kenya would ever have his shortfalls notwithstanding.
Saitoti was rumored to be a “Mathenge” but he is among the very few people who defied the urge of enjoying ethnic backing. I imagine with an opportunity to get the Central Kenya vote, I wonder how he managed to delink himself from this convenience and stay strictly focused.
He may never have been Angel Gabriel, but he never hurled words at each other, he respected the sanctity of government and took his work seriously. I respect that, because in my few years, I have engaged with a few within the political class, and I know one thing, conscience lacks.
I remember the words this person told me in person: This country needs a firmer commitment from the younger generation. I BELIEVE YOU MEANT IT. REST IN PEACE SIR.