Helen Pilale, the wife of ex-interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaisserry, has revealed how her husband was unusually 'ecstatic' before breathing his last.
In her memoirs, the General and I, Helen reveals the untold stories about her husbands' last moments on the fateful day of July 1, 2017.
She narrates how she was awoken by some movement at around 1 am, only to realise that Nkaisserry was getting out of bed.
“I assumed that he was going to the bathroom. He seemed to be turning to wear bedroom slippers which were facing the bed. I didn't realise that he was turning to support himself until I heard him bang the dressing table. I stood up,” Helen revealed in her book.
Earlier, at 11pm, Helen had left her husband downstairs watching his favourite programme on CNN as she retired to bed.
“When he came up, he was still very cheerful. He changed and went through the rest of his nighttime routine. He got into bed,” she says.
When I rushed to see what was happening, there was dead silence as Nkaissery slipped, she explains.
“I moved fast. I reached him, eased him onto the floor. I was confused. This was not like him. He wasn't drunk when he got home,” she writes.
Helen says she touched Nkaisserry and realised his breathing was changing before she made several calls to their neighbour Doctor Mogere and his wife, Grace.
“No response. Where was everyone? Many days later, I would remember that they hat travelled to the UK to visit their daughter Dr. Kerubo,” she writes.
Helen ran downstairs and straight to the AP guards at the gate and when they walked upstairs, Nkaisserry lay there, "no pain, no writhing, just immobile. So calm”.
“I tried to lift him, carry him, help him,” Helen recalls of the events on the night the then powerful CS died suddenly.
When the arrived at Karen Hospital with Nkaisserry on his Prado "the doctor said there was no pulse, no heartbeat".
"I kept urging them to resuscitate General. They said NO! He is gone,” she remembers.
The distance between Nkaisserry's home to the Karen Hospital took about 5-7 minutes.
They were later joined by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and some Cabinet secretaries.
"My next memory is of Lee Funeral Home beside the Nairobi Hospital. I don't know how I got there , 8.5 kilometers away. Who drove?Whose car? …....I could barely stand..I slumped over, unable to hold my back. Darkness fell,” Helen narrates.
Helen opens up about how she defied her husband and drove to their Karen home unexpectedly that night when she would have travelled to their rural Bissil home for an overnight stay.
Nkaisserry, the towering retired military general, was supposed to fly into Mashuuru and then make a short hop to Bissil from where Helen would accompany him to a fundraising.
So after winding up her campaign meeting with women groups at Kona Baridi that evening, Helen convinced her police driver to chauffeur her to their Karen residence, arriving at 7:30 pm.
“Hi. How are you? I am in Karen,” Helen sent her husband a text message to alert him of her change of plans.
In the memoirs, Helen explained that Nkaisserry who called her after a while sounded 'surprised but, happy”.
“You mean you have decided to come after I told you, you didn't need to come?” Nkaisserry told Helen.
“No. It is okay. If you have to fly to Mashuuru tomorrow, Mutea will come for me, and I will drive back to Bissil,” Helen writes as having responded to her husband..
Helen explains that in their telephone conversation, Nkaissery informed her the time he would be done with work but finished the call without really agreeing on the plans for the next day.
At 9PM, Nkaisserry, whom his wife refers to 'General' got home “beaming with joy.
“I couldn't remember when I had last seen him so ecstatic,” she writes.
According to Helen, his husband's mood was in stark contrast to the intensity of the elections and their demands.
Exactly a month to the August 2017 general elections, there was high-voltage drama of his work as a CS for the past two and half years, and particularly his grueling schedule over the last three months.
“It didn't matter that all these things were in his in-tray, he was ebullient,” Helen says in the book published by Santuri Media Limited.
That very morning, Nkaisserry had made an impromptu visits to the Kenyatta University and Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani.
As Interior CS, Nkaissery was inspecting the two venues to confirm their level of preparedness to host the IAAF World under 18 championship that were set to begin the following week.
Helen writes that after Nkaisserry finished from Kasarani he went straight to Uhuru Park, where presidential candidates-including his boss Uhuru Kenyatta -were to attend a joint prayer rally for peaceful elections.
While Uhuru, Ekuru Aukot and professor Micheal Wainaina attended the Uhuru Park prayer rally, their opponent Raila Odinga and his team held theirs at Orange House before holding a mega rally at Kamukunji grounds.
“This change of itinerary now meant that General had to worry about the security of four presidential candidates at tow separate venues,” Helen says.
Meanwhile, Mustafa Abdi, Nkaisserry's old campaign manager was in Nairobi accompanied by Kajiado County Commissioner Harsama Kello ready to meet Nkaisserry that day.
“No matter how busy General was, he always picked Mustafa's calls. This time was no different,” Helen writes.
However, Nkaisserry who was at Uhuru Park at the time, asked that the two join him at the prayer rally because after that, the CS would go to State House which Helen says he referred to as Nyumba Kubwa.
Because Mustafa was to go to the Mosque for prayers, he asked that they meet later.
Nkaisserry set the time for their meeting as 3pm at Bomasa of Kenya.
However, the meeting did not happen as Nkaissery's State House meeting took longer.
When he didn't show up at Bomas by 3:30 PM, Mustafa called him but the CS explained that it would not be possible to meet until the following day in Kajiado.
“He asked Mustafa to be at Bush Camp early and order chicken so that they could finish by 10 am and set off for the fundraising,” Helen writes.
At around 4 PM, Nkaisserry called Siaitoti Maika- his security advisor-to inquire if there was any urgent matter in the office that required his attention.
“His last words To Saitotu were, “Niko Pande hii (I am on the other side?),” Hellen writes saying the code was interprated by Harambee House staff as a 'do not disturb sign'.
At around 6pm, Nkaisserry also called his secretary, Mary, from his other office at Nyayo House where, Helen says he retreated to dodge MPs at Harambee house.
She writes that her husband used Nyayo House whenever the daily stream of MPs turned Harambee House into a Market place and got it impossible for General to get through paperwork or through "quiet discreet consultations".
'He sounded upbeat on phone. Ofisi iko aje(How is the office?...mimi sitakuja pande hiyo(I won't come that way," Helen quotes Mary as having told her.
However, Helen reveals that Nkaissery never told her where he went after "Nyumba Kubwa" engagements when he arrived home that Friday evening.