The Passing on of NCIC Vice Chairperson, Mary Onyango
(Nairobi, Kenya, 31st March 2012)
Commissioner Mary Onyango, NCIC Vice Chairperson
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission deeply regrets the sudden and heartrending demise of its Vice Chairperson, Commissioner Mary Onyango. The NCIC Vice Chair succumbed to breast cancer this morning, Saturday 31st March, 2012. She had travelled to Kisumu to attend a function and was taken ill at night. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Aga Khan University Hospital, Kisumu. She has been battling breast cancer for the last 13 years after being diagnosed in 1999.
Kenya has lost a great leader, peace maker and a patriot. She believed in devolution and held many forums that interrogated this matter. Commissioner Mary Onyango personally championed the Kenya Kwanza Campaign on behalf of the Commission. Kenya kwanza is a multi-media campaign that aims at delivering a peaceful 2012/13 general election and beyond.
She was determined to break the violence norm that characterizes Kenya’s elections. Commissioner Mary was deeply involved in peace initiatives in Mt. Elgon that endeavored to bring together the Sabaots and Bukusu communities.
The NCIC Vice Chair was also extensively involved in public interest work, was a founder member and Executive Director of the Kenya Breast Health Programme and sat on the boards of several charities and civil society organizations in Kenya.
Mary was a national peacemaker who engaged in peace work and conflict resolution countrywide. She was an invaluable treasure in peace building work and her sudden and tragic demise will leave a resounding mark not only on her loved ones but for all the different people and organizations with whom she worked tirelessly to advance peace building efforts.
Commissioner Mary Onyango holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from the University of Nairobi, an MBA (Finance) from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and a Masters in Public Health from Kenyatta University. With a career spanning over 25 years in Senior Management in the Public Sector, including the Management Boards of several private and Government owned institutions, she was also a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.
Perhaps her most important role, she was a mother to three beautiful girls Anne Marie, Amanda and Adelle. Mary Onyango was very principled in all of her dealings. Some of the statements she reiterated during her times included, “I have always refused to dwell on self pity and instead I prefer to look at the positive side of life, my faith in God has also kept me going.” She was deeply spiritual and the verses from the Holy Bible formed a fundamental part of not only her work but also her personal life.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission remains encouraged by all the work that she did and in memory of her, will draw on the strengths and commitment that she continually showed to resolve conflict. We send our heartfelt condolences to her family members and continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers. The NCIC is with her family in this hour of need and will support the decisions they make in order to give her the graceful send off that she deserves.
Mary will be fondly remembered for her stylish dressing, she brought color to the Commission, she was a jovial person and charming person, could be trusted and brought people together. Despite the fact that the NCIC Commissioners are all from different backgrounds, she managed to be elected as the Vice Chairperson. Mary worked until the last minute and held official meetings a few hours to her demise.
Mary Onyango will be deeply missed and her important work and beliefs on peace building will continue to inspire and motivate us.
Mzalendo N. Kibunjia,Ph.D, EBS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN
May the Lord rest her soul in Eternal Peace.