Transition: Charles Njonjo Dies Aged 101

Transition: Charles Njonjo Dies Aged 101

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 2 – Sir Charles Mugane Njonjo is dead. Njonjo died on Sunday morning aged 101.

He was the only surviving member of the independence Cabinet of founding President Jomo Kenyatta.

Njonjo, popularly known as the Duke of Kabeteshire, passed away peacefully at 5am on Sunday, according to his family.

He was then cremated at 8am at the Kariokor crematorium in line with his wish.

Carey Ngini, a son in law to Njonjo said, “Charles Njonjo was very clear in his instructions that he be cremated immediately after his death; he didn’t want funeral-related fanfare. He wanted to be cremated almost immediately after death. So we have fulfilled his wish.”

In his message of condolence to the family, President Uhuru Kenyatta described him as a “selfless leader” who contributed immensely to Kenya’s independence, helping to shape its destiny.

“The passing away of Hon. Njonjo is a big blow not only to his immediate family, friends and relatives but to all Kenyans and indeed, the entire African continent because of his leading role in the founding of the Kenyan nation at independence,” President Kenyatta said in a dispatch from State House.

Njonjo, who hails from Kabete in the outskirts of the capital Nairobi, was known for his English mannerisms and eloquence entrenched in Britain where he undertook studies and lived for some time before coming back to Kenya and subsequently taking up the AG’s job.

Kenya’s first Attorney General Charles Njonjo died on January 2, 2022 aged 101.
In this photo of January 2020 he was in Uganda to track Gorillas when he turned 100. /COURTESY.

As a nation, the president said “we owe a debt of gratitude to Hon. Njonjo and his generation of independence era leaders for their selfless contribution to the laying of the solid foundation upon which our country continues to thrive.”

He said Kenya’s progressive constitutional and legal regime owes its robustness to Njonjo’s splendid work when he served as the country’s first post-independence Attorney General between 1963 and 1979, and as Constitutional Affairs Minister between 1980 and 1983.

Njonjo was a close confidant to Jomo, who at some point, implored on him to marry at 52, when he felt uncomfortable getting legal advice from a bachelor, according to reports.

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