Jeremiah Gitau Kiereini, a former powerful Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, passed on Monday evening – the end of a remarkable life that saw him emerge as a corporate titan and a respected technocrat. He passed away at the age of 90.

Mr. Kiereini worked as Permanent Secretary for Defence in Jomo Kenyatta’s government before he was elevated to the Head of Civil Service position by President Daniel Arap Moi to replace Mr. Geoffrey Kariithi who had fallen out of favor.

He was at the Defence ministry during the troubled years of Shifta war and when President Idi Amin of Uganda was threatening to annex parts of Kenya – events which would lead to the strengthening of the army.

Unlike his age-mates, Charles Njonjo, Kenneth Matiba, and John Michuki, who found solace in politics after a career in civil service, Mr Kiereini chose to stay away and became one of the blue-eyed boys of blue-chip companies among them East African Breweries where he was chairman for a record 24 years and motor-dealer CMC Limited, where he would exit under a cloud of controversial dealings.

Mr. Kiereini died while trying to clear his name.

Born in 1929 in central Kenya, Mr. Kiereini studied at Alliance High and finally Makerere University before he joined the civil service at the dawn of independence.

Courtesy of Daily Nation.