President Uhuru Kenyatta was among prominent leaders who sent messages of condolences to the family of Mzee Phares Ruteere who was until his death was the chairman of the National Council of Elders.
Previously Ruteere was the long serving secretary general of the respected and influential Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders from the larger Meru region.
Uhuru in his message described Ruteere as a wise, and astute elder and leader who cherished and championed national cohesion, progress and a value-driven life among Kenyans.
“The death of Mzee Ruteere is a big blow to our country. Death has robbed our nation of a wise and dependable elder, wise counselor whose role in uniting the nation and inculcating life values in our youth shall be dearly missed, ‘’ said the President.
He added that Mzee Ruteere was a robust custodian of the rich African culture, who tirelessly championed for the utulization of culture in imparting life skills among the youth.
Uhuru said Mzee Ruteere was a man of peace and good listener, adding that the departed elder always worked hard to ensure Kenyans lived in harmony with each other.
He said Ruteere was always at the forefront in mending cracks in the nation’s existence and always preached the gospel of national unity and cohesion at all times.
On his part Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi described Ruteere as the epitome of leadership and one of the most prominent leaders in Meru.
He said he will be remembered for bringing the professionals and young people into Njuri Ncheke which lifted his profile.
Murungi said Ruteere rallied the elders to support government programs during former President Kibaki’s tenure and that of President Uhuru adding that he was a prominent farmer and businessman.
Ruteere died on Wednesday morning at Nairobi hospital where he was undergoing treatment.