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Political leaders mourn Wathika

By JAMES NGUNJIRI, @mjngunjiri

Former Nairobi mayor Dick Wathika was buried in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County on Saturday and was eulogised as being larger than life.

Those who took to the podium at Kaharo Primary School in Gikondi included former and sitting MPs.

Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua said Nyeri people had lost a son. “We have lost a great son,” said Mr Gachagua.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya described Wathika a friend. “When it comes to serving Kenyans we don’t have party affiliations,” said Mr Oparanya.

Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando said Mr Wathika was a person who was “a connector.”

Bishop Waweru from Anglican Nairobi Diocese, who led the church service, said the country was facing a challenge of corruption and urged everyone to shun the vice.

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Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe said political competition is not enmity, adding that they had come to mourn Wathika first as individuals and as a county because they had lost a leader among themselves.

The senator said there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics.

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko eulogised Mr Wathika as a close friend. He said that even though they were political rivals in the past, Mr Wathika showed respect and even when he floored him for the Makadara parliamentary seat, he conceded defeat as a gentleman would.

Sonko urged central Kenya county assembly members to work hand in hand with their governors for the sake of development.

“I urge the Jubilee assembly members from this region to solve their political differences with their governors in-house and stop this impeachment craze” said the senator.

Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula said people must learn to respect those who hold different views.

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“We must learn how to conduct ourselves with respect; we must also learn how to respect those who hold views which are different from ours because that is life,”  said Mr Wetang’ula.

Mr Wathika was elected councillor for Maringo ward, Nairobi, in 1992. He was re-elected to the same position in 1997, and again in 2002.

In his second term in office, Mr Wathika was elected the mayor of Nairobi City for two terms.

He also served as MP for Makadara constituency from 2007 to 2010, when a court ruling against his election necessitated a by-election. He lost to Sonko.

He also served as an assistant minister for Public Works in President Mwai Kibaki’s government.

Recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him the chairman of Athi Water Services Board.