Ezekiel Barng’etuny who died today at a Nairobi hospital was among the most powerful people in Kenya at the peak of Moi (mis)rule. The death of Barng’etuny ahead of Moi must have been a blow to the former President who ruled Kenya between 1979 and 2002.
Despite being a soldier in World War II, Barng’etuny did not rise to Nelson Mandela status. He died an immense farmer, wealthy businessman and former powerful politician. His contribution beyond the Rift Valley is scanty and may be found in anecdotes of Hillary Ng’weno’s unpublished series, ‘Destroyers of a Nation’.
Was he influential? Very, yet he used his influence in such a manner that when he exited, nothing much could be remembered of him.
This writer is not trying to downplay the fact that Barng’etuny is dead. He is; however, to eulogise a former KANU strongman and power-broker at the height of KANU and Moi dictatorship should be left to those who gained during those dark days.
Deputy President William Ruto has mourned Barng’etuny as a ‘great man of humour and hard work’.
â€œHe was a great mentor who inspired many young people especially those with political ambitions. Mzee BarngetunyÂ is credited with initiating several development projects within Nandi county and beyond. We will always celebrate his commitment to the promotion of education and entrepreneurshipâ€, Ruto said.
On his part, President Uhuru Kenyatta, also a former KANU beneficiary, paid glowing tribute to Barng’etuny.
â€œHe was well known for his business and farming acumen in Nandi County. His death is not only a big loss to his family but the nation which he served with commitment and dedication,â€ added the President. Don’t take Kamwana so seriously especially when he says the ‘nation’ has lost a person in the name of Barng’etuny. The Commander in Chief Â is stretching the truth.
â€œThe late Mr Barngâ€™etuny was a man of insight and unique leadership qualities. His exemplary virtues of hard work and dedication to duty were an inspiration to many,â€ added the President. No comment.