Kenya: Top Senator dies after long illness

By Samuel Ouma

Senator Yusuf Haji
Senator Yusuf Haji

Kenya’s Senator Yusuf Haji has died at the age of 80.

According to his family, Haji died at a Nairobi hospital on Monday morning while receiving treatment.

A family spokesperson told the media that the Senator had multiple body organ failure. Recently, he was flown out of the country for further treatment.

Haji served has Garissa Senator from 2013 until his demise.

He was also the chairperson of the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) task force.

The deceased had also served as a District Officer in the early 1960s before rising through the ranks to the position of Provincial Commissioner between 1970 and 1997.

Haji joined politics in 1998 as a nominated Member of Parliament.

From 1998 to 2001, he worked as an assistant minister in the office of the president and subsequently acted as the Office’s Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs in 2002.

He was elected unopposed in 2002 and 2007 as Ijara legislator and from 2008 to 2013 he served as the Minister of Defence.

In his condolence message to the family, acquaintances and residents of Garissa County, President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised the veteran leader as a dependable Kenyan and a patriot.

“It is very unfortunate that we have lost such a dependable, solid and highly accomplished Kenyan leader. Haji was a highly respected leader and elder whose wisdom, deep knowledge of the Kenyan society and long experience as a public administrator enabled him to serve the country in various leadership roles with distinction for many years,” the President said.

The head of stated said Haji’s death is a big blow to the country and the BBI constitutional reform process.

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