Raphael Tuju: Mama wanted me to be a priest

Raphael Tuju: Mama wanted me to be a priest

If Mama Mary Odiyo Tuju’s wish had come true, Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju would have become a Catholic priest. But as fate would have it, politics won over the priesthood.

Ms Odiyo, Mr Tuju’s mother, described as a disciplinarian who shaped the careers of many, died on Wednesday night at Karen Hospital in Nairobi where she had been on life support for 56 days.

In a recent interview, Mr Tuju revealed that his late mother had wanted him to become a Catholic priest.

He recalled that when he survived a plane crash in Busia in 2003, his mother almost went crazy and wailed over his entry into politics.

“She lamented loudly that I was the son she had wanted to become a Catholic priest and now I had been punished for having taken the wrong path of politics,” Mr Tuju said.
But he noted that they reconciled on the matter of the priesthood when he reminded her of her grandchildren.

Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga led Kenyans in mourning Mr Tuju’s mother.

The President eulogised her as a hard-working community leader and elder who greatly valued and supported education as the foundation of life.

“Mama Mary was a known and highly respected community leader who believed in the virtues and benefits of education. Her belief that education was the foundation of life was the inspiration that led many from her community to pursue education, and become productive members of society,” the President said.

He described her as a strong matriarch who raised a successful family.

“We will forever be grateful for the work she has done for our nation and for raising a strong family which has continued to contribute to the socioeconomic transformation of our country,” he said.

“I pray that God will shed his love and peace in your hearts as you mourn the demise of your beloved mother. I assure you of my prayers and support as you come to terms with the death of your family matriarch.”

Mr Odinga described Mr Tuju's mother as a "welcoming, generous and friendly mother who believed in the virtues of discipline, education, faith in God and hard work".

"She was a friend of our family and a second mother to me. Over the years I witnessed her dedication to her family and service to her community in Rarieda," the ODM leader said.

The death, he said, comes at a critical time for the Cabinet secretary, who is "handling a number of critical issues of interest to our nation. Our thoughts are with the CS and his entire clan".

Mr Tuju's mother died on Wednesday at 8.30 pm at Karen Hospital in Nairobi.

Jubilee chairman Nelson Dzuya, on behalf of the party’s organs, lauded the team of doctors and nurses at Karen Hospital who took care of her, and friends and relatives who offered their support when she was sick.