KENYA. Nairobi: Former Defense Minister and Senator for Garissa County, Yusuf Haji died this morning at the Agha Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, his family confirmed earlier this morning.
The 80-year-old father of nine, has left behind eight children, after one of his sons died earlier. He was the father of the current Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Noordin Haji.
He had been flown in from Turkey, where he had been receiving treatment since December for what the family spokesperson termed as multiple body organ failure that he first was admitted for in September 2020.
While mourning his death earlier this morning, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta remembered Sen. Haji as a dependable, solid and highly accomplished Kenyan leader.
“Mzee Haji was a highly respected leader and elder whose wisdom, deep knowledge of the Kenyan society and long experience as a public administrator enabled him to serve the country in various leadership roles with distinction for many years,” Kenyatta said.
His Deputy, William Rutto also passed his message of condolence, saying that Haji was a devoted and indefatigable administrator.
“The country has lost a devoted and indefatigable administrator who was cause-driven. Senator Mohamed Yusuf Haji was a gifted politician, modest yet strategic schemer with ground-breaking mediation skills”, he said.
“He was selfless, progressive, dependable and a committed champion for a more united and inclusive Kenya. We will fondly remember Honourable Haji as a leader who robustly upheld and reinforced the reputation and integrity of public service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haji family, their loved ones and the people of Garissa County. Rest in peace, Honourable Haji”, Rutto added.
Haji began his career as a District Commissioner in 1960 under the British colonial administration before Kenya attained independence and also during the first Kenyan president, Jomo Kenyatta’s tenure and rose the ranks to become a Minister and until his death, a Senator. He has served in all the five administrations since independence in 1963.
Between 1970 and 1997, Haji was served as a Provincial Commissioner before joining politics in 1998 after being appointed as a Member of the Kenyan Parliament and later being elected in the 2007 general elections to represent Ijara Constituency in the Kenyan Parliament.
In 2008, Haji was appointed Kenya’s Minister of State for Defence by Former president Mwai Kibaki, after the 27 December 2007 general elections. Three years later in 2011, Haji led a Kenyan delegation to meet the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) officials in Mogadishu to discuss security issues cooperation against the Islamist Al-Shabaab group.
Later, Haji and Somalia’s Minister of Defence Hussein Arab Isse signed an agreement to collaborate against the Al-Shabaab. In early June 2012, Haji signed another agreement officially re-hatting Kenya’s deployed military forces in Somalia under the AMISOM general command. Haji’s term as Minister of Defence ended on 26 April 2013.
He had been appointed Kenya’s acting Minister of Internal Security and Provincial Affairs on 18 June 2012 after the incumbent minister George Saitoti died in a helicopter crash a few days earlier. Haji had previously worked closely with Saitoti on the military operation against the Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. Haji held the new position concurrently with the Minister of Defence position for three months, until a permanent Internal Minister was appointed on 21 September 2012.
In 2013, Haji vied for the Garissa Senatorial position, which he won, and would later be re-elected in 2017, holding the office until his demise at 5am this morning.
Senator Haji’s burial is underway at the Langata Muslim Cemetery here in Nairobi, and in line with the Muslim religion.