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Region mourns private sector icon Ambassador Keli Kiilu

President Uhuru Kenyatta has led the nation in mourning Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) trustee Keli Kiilu who passed on Friday after a long illness.  In his message of comfort and encouragement to the family, relatives and friends of Mr. Keli Kiilu, President Kenyatta described Kiilu as a transformative leader whose ideas contributed greatly to the improvement of business environment and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises in Kenya.

In a statement released from State House Nairobi, the President hailed Kiilu as a true patriot was a strong champion of the East African Community and helped coordinate the private sector in the region to utilize the opportunities presented by integration to grow the region’s economy.

“He was passionate about Kenya and gave all his skills and ideas to grow our economy and contributed immensely to the vision of Kenya attaining middle income status.  He was a transformational leader who played a crucial role in creating an environment for growth of businesses in Kenya and the East African region,” he said.  The president said, Kiilu will be remembered for wooing investors to invest in Kenya and the region.

Others who have mourned Keli Kiilu include Industrialist Manu Chandaria who closely with Kiilu at the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the East African Business Council, the CEO of the Global Peace Foundation Kenya Mr. Daniel Juma Omondi, the Chairman of Radio Africa Group Mr. Kiprono Kittony, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo amongs others.

In his message of condolences to the family of Keli Kiilu, Mr. Omondi from the Global Peace Foundation recalled how they worked with Killu to advocate for peaceful elections in 2017 in the Mkenya Daima secretariat under the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.  “Killu was a gifted mediator who easily reached out to both opposition and government contacts at a time Kenya was grappling with contentious elections. May his Soul Rest in Peace.” He said.

Mr. Kittony described Kiilu was an outstanding patriot and champion for the private sector who led a delegation to meet President Nkurunziza a few years back when Burundi was in turmoil.  Coincidentally, President Nkurunziza also passed on last week and Kittony adds “ I am sure they will have a good laugh at the pearly gates”.  Film Producer Musyoki Kivindyo described Keli Kiilu as a staunch advocate of free trade and East African integration who traversed the region to attract investments and lobby for integration with regional leaders.

On their part, KEPSA eulogized Kiilu as an exemplary leader who was very passionate about Kenya, saying that he would be fondly remembered. He was one of the longest serving leaders at KEPSA in different capacities.  “He was a transformational leader and he played a big role in creating an environment for business both in Kenya and the region as well as growth of SMEs,” KEPSA wrote.

Senator Mutula Kilozo Junior of Makueni where Kiilu comes from eulogized him as a man of many talents and someone who was wealthy in many ways but still remained humble.  “A man of many talents. Was on speed dial with heads of state around the region and globe yet humble. Rest In Peace uncle,” Mutula Kilonzo posted on his Twitter.  Kiilu suffered a stroke in 2017 while on a trip to Rwanda and has been bedridden for the last 3 years until he passed on last Friday. Kiilu worked for BAT Kenya Limited as the Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for many years.  Kiilu hails from Mbooni in Makueni County and is survived with two sons Kiilu Keli and Marvin.

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