Tribute To Grace Githu

p_githu.jpgGrace Githu was a founder member of the Institute for Education in Democracy and was its Executive Director from 1993 until her death on 15thSeptember 2002. 

Ms Githu was a human rights lawyer of long standing and was instrumental in steering and guiding IED in its quest to promote democracy in Kenya and the Africa region through training advocacy and research. Ms Githu had had a strong personal belief in the necessity to build a thriving democratic society that puts the ordinary citizen at the centre. Her extensive work in civic education advocacy and training sought to contribute to the realisation of that objective

Tributes to Grace

Having worked with Grace for over twelve years, in the ICJ, NEMU and IED, I believe that she is one of the foremost-unsung heroes of the Democratisation process in this country. Beneath the self-effacing personality was a strong and inspirational individual, a dependable crusader and Advocate for Justice. Her intellectual commitment to the cause of democracy and her organisational skills will for long remain a beacon for those like myself, who had the privilege to work with her.

- Charles Nyachae, Chair, IED Board

Grace died at a prime time of her life. For a long time now she had toiled very hard in the struggle for democratic and credible elections in Kenya. She first professionalised election observation, then branched out to training of manpower on management of election and voter education. The outcome of the last two had not yet been realised at the time of her death. However, as concerns election observation, her contribution has no rival.

At the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) she and IED had become indispensable partners in the numerous project and programs aimed at capacity building for the ECK. Her contributions towards these efforts were immeasurable.

- Samuel Kivuitu, Chairman, Electoral Commission of Kenya

Grace was a remarkable and formidable person. Knowing her was a humbling experience. I was really privileged to have worked for and with her. She taught me so much and deeply touched my life. I am grateful that she cultivated independence and confidence in all of us, the staff of IED. 

- Koki Muli Ag. Executive Director – IED

Grace introduced me to a new dimension of legal work in the fields of governance and democracy. I remember her as a firm and committed believer in the fight for human rights and justice. She shared with staff lessons from her vast experience as a lawyer and as an internationally renowned election observer and monitor. Through her management skills like delegation she groomed her staff to aim higher and exceed their expectations.

Philip Kichana - Programme Officer, IED

Grace was one of the founding members of FIDA Kenya, a past Chairperson and was at the time of her death a Trustee of the Organisation. Her Contribution to the cause of women’s legal empowerment in Kenya is unmatched, as she must rank as one of the most respectable leading light for women’s empowerment in this country. 

We feel compelled to particularly pay tribute to Grace’s singular determination to ensure that Kenyan women meaningfully participate in political Leadership. In particular, we recall Grace’s founding of the National Election Monitoring Unit (NEMU) in 1991/1992, which played an invaluable role in monitoring the 1992 election. NEMU later grew to become the Institute for Education in Democracy (IED), which was at the forefront in monitoring the 1997 General Elections and today remains the leading Elections Monitoring body, which commands international respect.

- Martha Koome, Chairperson – FIDA (K)

Grace Githu will be remembered with fondness and admiration by those of us privileged to know and work with her, which I did over a period of three decades. Within the women’s movement and the NGO World, it was her frank and fearless counsel and advice on legal issues, women’s rights and human rights. Her meticulous and strict professionalism, her firmness yet great humility, her insightful and constructive contributions, all distinguished Grace as a worker and a colleague.

Over the last decade of her life, Grace s name became synonymous with election monitoring. She will definitely be missed in this very specialised role

Dr. Eddah Gachukia

Grace was one of the very few philanthropic lawyers and non-lawyers who gave their time to serve the indigent soon after college way back in 1972/3 the time the Kituo was founded. She can therefore aptly be described as a founder member a title though, in her usual self-effacing person, she would be reluctant to accept. She worked closely with the likes of Steve Adere, Advocate, Justice J. V. Juma, Mutaza Jaffer, Dr. David Gachuki, Justice Ang’awa and many others to nurture the young Kituo as it tottered with the challenges of the time.

Haron Ndubi – Executive Director, Kituo Cha Sheria

Sometimes, news comes as a shock; the news of Grace's death definitely did.Grace was a 'passionaria' in the true sense of the word: strong headed, she fought with passion, conviction and supreme intelligence for the things she believed in. Deeply honest - even the slightest hint to the contrary would greatly upset her - she was the very kind of person Kenya needs so desperately to build its future. She could be combative when defending her opinions - who doesn't remember the fierce debates she could engage in? But you just had to scratch the surface to discover the warm and lovely person she was . More than anything else, that is the Grace we will not forget – a friend we already deeply miss.

Norbert Braakhuis (Royal Netherlands Embassy 1995 - 1999), Jelte van Wieren (ibidem, 1997 - 2002)