, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, Opposition leader Raila Odinga and the Speakers of Parliament were among leaders who on Wednesday led the nation in mourning the death of Homabay Senator Otieno Kajwang’.
Kajwang’ passed away at the Mater Hospital on Tuesday night after what was said to be a heart attack.
President Kenyatta described the late Kajwang’ as an eloquent debater, a patriot and a nationalist.
“The death of Senator Kajwang reminds us of how fickle human life can be. It is, therefore, difficult for anyone of us to find the right words with which to express ourselves at such a sad time,” said the President in a statement.
Ruto said the late Senator distinguished himself as one of Kenya’s brilliant lawyers and was a man of principle who loved his country.
“He was an astute, dedicated, courageous, passionate and humorous politician who was faithful to whatever cause he pursued. He played a critical role in the clamour for a new Constitution. As a country, we have lost a steadfast leader whose contribution to the law profession, justice, good governance and democracy is evident,” he said.
On his part, Odinga described the death of the Homabay Senator as tragic and eulogised him as a great leader who was known for his oratory skills and eloquence while articulating party ideals.
Speaking at the Mater Hospital just before Kajwang’s body was moved to the Lee Funeral home on Wednesday morning, the Orange Democratic Movement party leader said that Kajwang’ was a staunch supporter of ODM and indicated that the party had lost a strong pillar.
“Kajwang was one of the most powerful pillars in our movement. As you know, he was the chairman of ODM in Homabay County and also a member of our National Governing Council. We have lost a very strong, staunch and dedicated member of ODM and of the CORD coalition,” he stated.
He said the death was sudden as there had been no indicator that the late Senator was ailing.
“He was driven to the hospital last evening and he walked out of the car himself. When his doctor arrived, he found that he was suffering from high blood pressure and they were suspecting a heart attack. The doctors struggled with him but after a couple of hours, they gave up and he passed on,” he said.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi stressed that Kajwang’ was a dedicated servant of the people, a gallant politician, a brave and selfless leader who will be deeply missed.
“To say he was a dedicated man would be an understatement. I have known Senator Kajwang’ since our days at the University of Nairobi, my stint in the Judiciary and here in Parliament where he was and still remained an astute lawmaker. To the family, friends, the people of Homabay and the entire nation, let us derive great joy in the many moments he spent with us even as we mourn him,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula who recalled Kajwang’s last moments on Tuesday during the Senate proceedings says the House would dedicate Wednesday’s proceedings in eulogising the fallen leader.
“We have worked together in the Senate. He has been one of the most dependable debaters and persuasive Senators on every issue. In fact yesterday, Senator Kajwang’ had a most sterling speech that I have ever listened to while he was debating the Police Amendment Bill dealing with national security and deployment,” he said.
Wetangula indicated that he last spoke to Kajwang’ after Tuesday’s Senate session.
“He was in the Senate until 6.15pm. He walked to me and said, ‘boss, I have done my day. See you tomorrow.’ We feel a terrible sense of loss since as you know, Kajwang’ has been one of the pillars of the CORD fraternity. Even when we go out for rallies, the public demands that Kajwang’ should speak even when we are short of time. You also recall his famous ‘Mapambano,’ call,” he said.
United Democratic Forum (UDF) party leader Musalia Mudavadi stated that he was a man whom one could never ignore since he told the truth in a friendly manner that neutralised opponents.
“He worked till the last day with his high octane contributions in the Senate on Tuesday on matters of national security. The late Senator stood firm in what he believed in which many mistook to mean arrogant sycophancy,” he stated.
Kajwang’ was born in 1959 and attended Makerere University where he studied law. He later joined the Kenya School of Law.
He was elected as Mbita constituency legislator in 1997. He served as the Minister for Immigration in the coalition government from 2008-2013.
Kajwang’ who is fondly remembered for his “Bado Mapambano” song was elected the Senator, Homa Bay County in the 2013 General Election.