, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta was on Friday expected to attend the burial of the late Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General David Okuta.
It will be President Kenyatta’s first visit to the region since his inauguration as Kenya’s fourth president, and the second out of Nairobi after visiting Gatundu last Sunday.
Although he’s in Nyanza for a funeral, political analysts see the visit as significant in uniting the people of Nyanza after the region’s kingpin Raila Odinga lost the presidency to him.
Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is also expected in Nyanza.
Nyanza County Commissioner Lorna Odera says security arrangements have been put in place ahead of the burial to be held Okuta’s home in Ahero, after a funeral ceremony at Onjiko High School.
Okuta was pronounced dead on arrival at the Rongai Women’s Hospital on the night of April 2, after developing breathing problems, according to his family.
Kenyatta in his message of condolences to the family of the late KNUT Secretary General described him as person who exemplified the spirit of a true trade unionist in his work.
His message said: “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of David Okuta. I pray that God grants you peace, strength and comfort during this time of grief. While serving as the KNUT Secretary General, his zeal and passion in his work exemplified the spirit of a true trade unionist who went an extra mile to defend the rights of all Teachers. You will be greatly missed my brother. May God rest your soul in eternal peace.”
Okuta was taken ill in September last year at his Kisumu home where he was reported to have collapsed just a day before the nationwide teachers’ strike, which he was instrumental in organising.
At the time, Okuta was rushed to Kisumu’s Aga Khan Hospital for treatment. He was later flown to Nairobi for specialised health care.
Days later he was back on his feet and even managed to call off the strike and resumed his duties partially as he recuperated.
Okuta has been instrumental in fighting for the rights of teachers and took office as Secretary General of the union in mid-2011.
In December last year, Okuta was awarded the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) by former President Mwai Kibaki during the 49th Jamhuri Day fete.