, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – As the date for the funeral of the late Homabay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ scheduled for this Friday draws nearer, leaders across the political divide have continued to celebrate the life of a man cherished for his sense of humour, humility, loyalty and passionate yet informed debating skills while contributing to parliamentary debates.
During a visit to Kajwang’s home in Runda, legislators from both Houses of Parliament led by the respective Speakers took the time to re-live moments with the late Senator, describing him in the kindest of words.
“When I was a first year, Senator Otieno Kajwang’ and Rumba Kinuthia offered me their books to use for free. It was no wonder that I followed his footsteps in the leadership at SONU… We eulogise a great Kenyan. You did not have to belong in the same political persuasion with Gerald to admire the way he prosecuted his position on any issue, he was just that rare breed,” said National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
On his part, Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro urged both Houses to take up the challenge of resolving the supremacy wars between them as an honour to the late Kajwang’, who in death united them.
“Kajwang’ and I have walked a long path. When he speaks about ‘mapambano’ I really share and I think the greatest eulogy we can give as a Parliament is what the Majority Leader of the National Assembly has told us is the way to go; the Majority Leader of the Senate has concurred – now, can we bring this ‘mapambanos’ to an end?” posed Ethuro.
Legislators who addressed the gathering led by the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale called on their counterparts to extend the unity portrayed following Kajwang’s death to everyday engagements within and outside the House so as to enhance meaningful association.
“Let us not only unite only when we lose one of our own, let us unite even today when our country is facing a serious insecurity and terrorism threat. We should pick it the way the US did after the September 11 attack; from the media to the business community to the Opposition to the government… they said the country is under attack. Today our country is under attack and we must stand together,” stated Duale.
Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki who was among the first legislators to go to the Mater Hospital after news of Kajwang’s death broke re-lived moments with the man he calls a friend.
He pledged to join hands with other interested legislators in identifying a project in Homabay County to be developed in honour of the fallen Senator, further joking about the importance of avoiding politics owing to the political undertone.
“We are here today to say bye-bye to our friend and pray that the death of our brother will keep our country strong and united.”
Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula recalled his last moments with Kajwang’ on the day he made a passionate address to the Senate regarding the deployment of the army in Kapedo, an issue he was against and which was incidentally his last public speech.
“At 6:15pm that day he walked to where I was seated and said to me, today I have earned my pay, let me go. I only I knew that he was going for good,” Wetangula recalled.
The National Assembly has since contributed Sh3.5 million to the family while the Senate came up with a little over Sh2 million.
There will be a memorial service at the Maxwell SDA Church in Nairobi on Wednesday at 8:30am followed by another Interdenominational service at the Uhuru Park grounds where members of the public will be able to view the body.
Kajwang’ will be laid to rest on Friday in his rural home in Mbita.