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Fmr. UG Walter Rodney Professor, Ali Mazrui dies

Professor Ali Mazrui

Inaugural Walter Rodney Professor at the University of Guyana, Ali Mazrui died early Monday morning in the United States (US) after a period of illness.

He was 81 years old.

The renowned Kenyan academic was appointed to the position at UG in honour of Rodney, an internationally respected Guyanese historian and politician, who died on June 13, 1980.

Activists and members of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) have been telling a Commission of Inquiry being held here that Rodney was assassinated by the then Forbes Burnham-led People’s National Congress (PNC) administration.

Mazrui retired from the Walter Rodney Professorship in 1999, one year after he was appointed.

The BBC reports that Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Africa had been robbed of one of its greatest scholars.

Mr Mazrui had been “towering” academic whose “intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship”, he added.

Mr Mazrui had been a professor at Binghamton University in New York at the time of his death.

His body will be flown to Kenya for burial, said Khelef Khalifa, chairman of Kenya’s Muslims for Human Rights group.

“His nephew, Alamin Mazrui, has confirmed that the professor’s wish was to be buried in Kenya,” he is quoted by the local Daily Nation newspaper as saying.

Mr Mazrui is survived by his wife and six children.