Update: Charles Njonjo cremated in Nairobi

He did not want funeral-related fanfare - family says

Charles Njonjo, Duke of Kabeteshire dies on January 2, 2022 at age 101

President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed the death of Kenya's first Attorney General, the proclaimed Duke of Kabeteshire, Mr Charles Njonjo, just days before his 102nd birthday.

In a statement released by State House, President Kenyatta conveyed that Njonjo had passed away on the morning of January 2, 2022.

"It is with a heavy heart that I have this morning, Sunday 2nd January 2022, received the sad and heartbreaking news of the passing away of Hon. Charles Mugane Njonjo.

"Hon. Njonjo, the only surviving member of Kenya's independence Cabinet, passed away peacefully at 5am this morning at the age of 101 years," the statement read.

The statement went on to convey the President's condolence message to the bereaved family, noting that the nation owed their patriarch a debt of gratitude.

"The passing away of Hon. Njonjo is a big blow not only to his immediate family, friends and relatives but to all Kenyans and indeed, the entire African continent because of his leading role in the founding of the Kenyan nation at independence.

"As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to Hon. Njonjo and his generation of independence era leaders for their selfless contribution to the laying of the solid foundation upon which our country continues to thrive. Kenya's progressive constitutional and legal regime owes its robustness to Hon. Njonjo's splendid work when he served as the country's first post-independence Attorney General between 1963 and 1979, and as Constitutional Affairs Minister between 1980 and 1983.

"On behalf of the Kenyan nation, my family and on my own behalf, I send deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and relatives of Hon. Njonjo, and indeed all Kenyans," bemoaned President Kenyatta.

Within the early hours of Sunday morning, the family confirmed that Sir Njonjo had been cremated at the Kariokor Crematorium.

"He didn’t want funeral-related fanfare. He wanted to be cremated almost immediately after death. So we have fulfilled his wish," his son in law Mr Carey Ngini confirmed to reporters.

The family stated that he had succumbed to a bout of pneumonia.

Charles Njonjo and his Pinstriped Suits

The centenarian gained a name for himself, resembling a legend's, for his love of pinstriped, three-piece suits, he almost wore them exclusively and they became his trademark.

It would later emerge that he owned only 20 suits of the kind and had custom-made the pinstripes to bear his initials, "CN" running continuously through the threading of each of the thin white stripes.

A mishap during importation of the suits from London in 1988 made the former AG Kenya's first post-independence State officer to have his private life investigated.

In 2020, when Njonjo marked his 100th birthday, a section of Kenyans called on him to show off the suits one more time after a rare public appearance.

Njonjo and his family had taken a hiking trip to Uganda to mark the 100 fete and had donned practical clothes for the event, but Kenyans would have none of it.

One commentator questioned: "Where is Sir Charles Njonjo trademark suit?"

He would have been marking his 102nd birthday on January 23, 2022.

Sir Njonjo will be remembered by both the older and younger generations of Kenyans for being an outspoken leader even in the latter years of his influence in the country's politics.

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