Officer who testified in Naivasha PEV hearings dies

Willy Lugusa

Willy Lugusa was in charge of Naivasha at the height of the post-election violence in 2007-08 and even testified before the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission over the killings in that period.

Photo credit: File

Mr Willy Lugusa, a retired assistant inspector-general of police and former Nyanza regional police commander, is dead.

His daughter Lynn Lugusa and the National Police Service have confirmed the death of the decorated officer.

According to Ms Lugusa, her father had suffered from multiple myeloma for a long time. It is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called plasma cell.

Healthy plasma cells help a person fight infections by making antibodies that recognise and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells.

“The cancer was at an advanced stage, which is stage four, but the situation worsened after he was involved in an accident on March 2021 and had been bed-ridden ever since,” she said.

The officer died at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.

“He was in so much pain but really gave a brave fight,” she added.

The retired senior officer was in charge of Naivasha at the height of the post-election violence in 2007-08 and even testified before the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission over the killings in that period.

On its official Twitter page, the National Police Service expressed sadness at the passing of Mr Lugusa, referring to him fondly as Willy.

“Willy was a selfless and true embodiment of a professional police officer, with a distinguished career in the public service. He was admired by junior and senior officers both uniformed and civilian as generous, cheerful, and friendly to those who had an opportunity to work with him,” read the NPS tribute.

Left an indelible mark

The NPS also described him as an officer endowed with impeccable leadership skills and outstanding ingenuity, catapulting him from humble beginnings to the top echelons in the service, becoming the regional police commander of Nyanza.
He served in various capacities and left an indelible mark that remains a source of inspiration and motivation for other officers.

It is because of this experience that he was appointed head of the Kisumu city inspectorate department after he retired from the service.

But his stint with the county government was not rosy, as he raised concerns over working conditions and tussled with another former national intelligence officer over the inspectorate position.

During his tenure, he made headlines when he resigned following an incident in which council askaris assaulted and dragged a female hawker on the road in a bizarre drama that attracted criticism from across the country.

He took responsibility for the act of his junior officers, who under his watch, he said “grabbed and dragged a lady and a mother along a street on March 24, 2021”.

Mr Lugusa, in a letter to Governor Nyong’o, said: “The act committed was unconscionable, diabolical and against all the rules of natural justice. I hereby take full and moral responsibility for the acts committed thereto.

“I hereby extend my deepest regret to all the people of Kisumu County and the nation as a whole, for this is not what the County Government of Kisumu represents. I take this opportunity to express my most sincere gratitude for the opportunity you gave me to serve in your most able government.”

On Tuesday, Governor Nyong’o described the former cop as a career and professional policeman who did a sterling job when he served in his government.

“He will be remembered for giving the county inspectorate a professional face.

Despite holding senior positions in the police service and later at the county, Lugusa exhibited a rare humility, a trait that endeared him to many people,” said Prof Nyong’o.

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