NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – There was more laughter than tears as the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo was eulogised by his family, friends and colleagues at a funeral service on Wednesday.
Kilonzo emerged not only as a man who loved the colour red, good novels and watches but as “an astute lawyer and consummate politician,” in the words of Deputy President William Ruto, who also disclosed he represented him in a 2002 poll petition. “It goes without saying I won that petition.”
As his family, friends and colleagues recalled the last encounters they had with him and the times they shared, Kilonzo emerged as a loving husband, father and loyal friend.
“He would get up at 3am,” Kilonzo’s widow Nduku said. “And so that he wouldn’t wake me up he’d shower in the dark.”
Kethi Kilonzo described her father as a tech savvy individual in whose life there was no room for tardiness. “He had a penchant for technology and was always challenging his children to beat him at it.”
“He referred to himself as ‘Mutula.Kom’ and was aptly nicknamed ‘MK’… As soon as an Apple product was released he would clamber to get his hands on it,” Kethi continued.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga eulogised Kilonzo as a good father given Kethi’s apt performance as an advocate during the presidential petition.
“I called to tell him that his little girl was brilliant and he jokingly told me he’d turned down all offers for her hand in marriage because you cannot replace brains with cows.”
And although Kethi described her father as thrifty, to Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, he was a most generous individual.
“When we were in school together he was the kitchen prefect and I think that’s where he learnt to be an early riser. I came from a poor background and so he’d give me a loaf of bread before the other student’s got to the dining room at which point he’d give me a second helping.”
Outside the Nairobi Baptist Church where the funeral service was held and away from the political bigwigs, Maurice Otieno remembered Kilonzo for his sense of humour as he hawked purple pins in honour of the former Education Minister.
“He made me laugh when he released the 2012 KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) results and kept saying, clap for me.”
Kilonzo’s son Muathi expressed confidence that had his father lived longer, he would have continued his success as Makueni Senator.
“My father never got the chance to give his maiden speech as a Senator but I’m confident it would have been along the lines of Winston Churchill’s own maiden speech as Prime Minister, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”