President Uhuru Kenyatta today led thousands of mourners and prominent personalities in paying their last respects to veteran politician the late William Ole Ntimama.
Ntimama was laid to rest at his Motonyi home, in Narok County.
Condoling with the mourners, President Kenyatta described Ntimama as a hero who fought for the rights of the maa community and pastoralists in general.
“He was always at the forefront in championing the rights of his people,” said the president.
The President urged leaders to emulate Ntimama by building and strengthening community bonds.
“I have known Ntimama since my childhood, even when he was in government and I in the opposition and he never shied away from interacting with those of contrary opinion,” said the President.
He eulogized the Ntimama as a man whose devotion to the national cause and values will forever remain etched in the minds of Kenyans and others who interacted with him.
The Head of State challenged political leaders to rise above partisan interests and work together in tackling the challenges affecting the country.
“For solutions to be found we must learn to talk to one another and not at each other,” said the President.
On restoration of the Mau water tower, the President said he had discussed with the late politician and other Maasai leaders and agreed on the way forward.
“I assure you that the late Ntimama stood for conservation of Mau forest and we will sit with leaders and ensure the water tower is protected. The solution of Mau does not lie in creating animosity with other Kenyan communities,” said the President.
The President dismissed as foolishness the idea of community unity without development saying the only way of escaping poverty is through economic empowerment.
President Kenyatta, at the same time, told the CORD leader Raila Odinga to stop ‘poking his nose’ at the Jubilee party and instead concentrate on his coalition politics.
“On Jubilee party I want to tell my brother to leave my house alone, we know where we are going, take care of your Coalition,” said the President.
He assured the widow, Mama Dorcas Ntimama and the whole family of his personal and government support during ‘this difficult moment’.
Retired President Daniel arap Moi described Ntimama as a great leader who vigorously fought for the dignity of the Africans by passionately pursuing the rights of marginalized communities.
He recalled early years of 1950’s when he first met Ntimama describing him as a reliable partner and a selfless leader who put the interests of his people above his own.
“We consulted widely particularly on the welfare of the Maasai community,” said Kenya’s 2nd President.
He urged Maasai leaders to work closely with the government in sorting out issues affecting the community including restoration of the Mau water tower.
Cord leader Raila Odinga described the late Ntimama as a true and sincere leader whose commitment to the public good was exceptional.
He said the late veteran politician will be remembered as a hero and an untiring advocate of the rights of indigenous communities.
“His passion for the welfare of the Maa in particular and other pastoral communities in general turned him into a strong champion of environmental conservation. He understood that environment is life not only for pastoralists but for all humanity,” said the CORD leader.
Interior Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery cautioned politicians not to use the Mau forest issue as a weapon to gain political mileage.
“The government which I serve is on top of the Mau issue and will give a solution to it,” he said.
He pointed out that the Maasai community is capable of defending its rights and does not need to be lectured on the same.
Majority leader in Parliament Adan Duale said the late Ntimama was a true patriot who championed and stood for the rights of all pastoralists.
“He is the one who made us learn to speak our minds on pastoralists issues,” he said.
FormerTanzanian Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, Cord co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka, Senator Moses Wetangula and AMANI leader Musalia Mudavadi described the veteran politician as selfless leader who never shied from stating the truth on any issue.
The burial ceremony was also attended by political, community and business leaders including thousands of wananchi from all walks of life.