Former Cabinet Minister and Kisii Politician Simeon Nyachae was this afternoon laid to rest at a state funeral attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and leaders from all walks of life.
Nyachae who died on 1st February 2021 at the age of 88 five days before his 89th birthday was flown to Kisii on Sunday after a memorial service held at the Seventh Day Adventis Church in Nairobi.
Speaking at the funeral service, President Kenyatta praised Nyachae as someone who practiced what he preached. The President described him as a great son of Kenya whose contribution to the country spanned many decades. The President said Nyachae served the people of Kenya with diligence including Permanent Secretary, Chief Secretary and Cabinet. In Nyachae’s memory, the President renamed the Gusii Stadium to be called Simeon Nyachae Stadium and allocated 100 million shillings to Kisii County Government to raise the stature of the stadium to international standards.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga described Nyachae as a friend with whom they disagreed with in 2002 when he made the Kibaki Tosha declaration that cleared the way for Mwai Kibaki to be the 3rd President o0f Kenya. Raila said they later reconciled and became friends again. Deputy President William Ruto eulogized Nyachae as an astute civil servant and entrepreneur who built businesses that employed thousands of Kenya.
Born on February 6, 1932 in Nyosia village, Nyaribari in Kisii, to colonial-era chief Musa Nyandusi, Nyachae was trained in the UK as a public administrator. From a district officer in Kangundo, Machakos, he rose through the ranks to be appointed district commissioner at the time of Kenya’s independence in 1963 before serving as a provincial commissioner between 1965 and 1979. He later served in the civil service under the governments of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Arap Moi. Under President arap Moi, Nyachae rose in 1979 to the office of chief secretary and cabinet secretary, from which he retired in 1987.
In the mid-1980s, Nyachae together with the then the permanent secretary in the ministry of planning Harris Mule initiated the “District Focus for Rural Development” which involved devolving significant financial authority and responsibility to district county councils and set the stage devolution as envisaged in the 2010 constitution.
Nyachae’s plans to run for the presidency in 2002 did not bear fruit but was able to enter parliament with a 14-member Ford–People faction, having won all constituencies in Kisii. Besides KANU, Ford–People was the only sizeable opposition party in the 2002 parliament. In 2004, when president Kibaki was facing strong opposition from his cabinet, he recalled Nyachae to the government as the Minister for Energy and later Minister for Roads. Nyachae ran a chain of businesses ranging in nature from agriculture, banking, real estate, transportation and manufacturing.