Former Kenyan defense minister and Garissa Senator Yussuf Hajji is Dead

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Garissa County Senator and Chair of the Building Bridges Initiative Taskforce Yusuf Haji is dead.

Garissa senator Mohamed Yusuf Haji, 80, died at a hospital in Nairobi on Monday morning.

The late Hajji was Garissa County Senator, a member of Kenya’s upper house of parliament. His demise was confirmed to the BBC by Garissa Township MP Aden Barre Duale.

“He had been ill for four to five months now and at first he had a hip injury and was treated in Turkey but he passed on today morning in Nairobi,” said Aden Barre Duale.

According to family members, the senator was flown from abroad a fortnight ago and later admitted to Aga Khan hospital, in Nairobi where he died while receiving treatment.

Haji was a long time administrator who served in various areas including the vast Rift valley between 1970 and 1998.

He was nominated to Parliament in 2002 and in 2007, he was elected to Parliament unopposed as Ijara MP.

He was the Minister of Defence from 2008 to 2013 during Mwai Kibaki’s administration and briefly served as its acting Minister of Internal Security and Provincial Affairs in 2012. He has served in the Senate since 2013 until his death.

Haji was a known peacemaker mostly working on reconciliation efforts between warring clans.

In 2014, Haji oversaw the signing of a peace agreement between communities in Wajir and Mandera counties to end the perennial clashes.

The agreement was signed by Degodia and Garre communities in the presence of National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Francis ole Kaparo and Haji in efforts to spearhead peace in the region.

Haji’s sons Abdul Haji, and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Mohamed Haji have played a role in security matters in the country.

During a terrorist attack at Westgate, Abdul Haji who had gone in search of his brother who had texted him that he was trapped in the mall, joined the police officers in the rescue operation.

Mohamed Yusuf Haji has been the chair of the BBI committee tasked with working to amend Kenya’s constitution.

BY OSMAN HUSSEIN ALI