Death of a Minister

Bhante Wimala attending a humanitarian project with the Hon. Mirugi Kiriuki who died in the plane crash.

The Death of Hon. Mirugi Kiriuki

On April 10th, 2006 at around 3:00 pm, I made a call to Kenya with the expectation of speaking with the Assistant Minister for Internal Security there, the Hon. Mirugi Kiriuki. I wanted to confirm with the Hon. Kiriuki the appointment we had scheduled to further discuss the construction of a maternity center at the Nakuru hospital in Kenya. He did not answer his phone though. Since I had already arranged to be in Kenya so as to meet with him the following week, it was urgent that I confirm the appointment in order to make my short stay there as productive as possible.

Not successful in reaching the Hon. Kiriuki at his office, I tried calling him on his mobile phone, but there was still no answer. I decided to call another member of parliament in the same area, the Hon. Koigi, but he was not answering his phone either. I then called the Hon. Koini's wife and asked her about the Assistant Minister for Internal Security. To my surprise, she said, “he died this morning in a plane crash with 14 other people.” She added that she herself had just received the news and was still waiting for further information.

I later learned that a military plane that the Hon. Kiriuki was traveling in had crashed while trying to land in northeast Kenya on the morning of the 10th of April. The assistant minister was killed, along with a cabinet minister, four other MPs, and seven other people. The Y-12 plane, with 17 people aboard, had hit a hill near the town of Marsabit while carrying officials to a conference aimed at easing tribal tensions in the region.

Before becoming a member of parliament, the Hon. Kiriuki worked with the poor and for the poor and underprivileged. He had been appointed by the president of Kenya to bring peace among the warring clans in the eastern province of Africa. A charismatic and dedicated leader, who was also a good friend of mine, the Hon. Kiriuki lost his life while leading a peace mission. Only a few months earlier, I had the great privilege of visiting with him at his office in Nakuru, signing the guest book and discussing how to help the poor and sick in the area.

I was invited by the members of the Kenyan Parliament to attend the Hon. Kiriuki's funeral in Nakuru on the 15th of April. I traveled from Nairobi on the four-hour trip with the Hon. Mbau, a member of parliament from Maragua. The president of Kenya and over one hundred members of parliament participated in the funeral service. As a special guest, I was allowed to sit with the members of parliament and I also got a chance to greet the president. It was a sad day for the thousands of people who attended the funeral and the many other thousands of people whose lives the Hon. Kiriuki touched.

I recognize the incredible work that the Hon. Kiriuki performed both before and during his time with the Kenyan Parliament. I am thankful for having the opportunity to work with him to help the poor and underprivileged of Nakuru. I send him my sincere blessings and I wish him a happy journey.