Kitui West MP and former Minority Leader Francis Nyenze has passed on.
Mr Nyenze died on Wednesday at The Nairobi Hospital, according to Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua.
Mr Wambua, a brother-in-law of Mr Nyenze, said the MP died of pneumonia at 7.50am.
Mr Nyenze, he said, had been battling cancer of the colon for the last 10 years and developed pneumonia during the campaign period.
Mr Wambua said he last spoke with Mr Nyenze at the hospital on Tuesday evening and told him to be strong.
Mr Nyenze’s family said the body had been moved to Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi, where a host of leaders visited them.
On August 31, Mr Nyenze carried an oxygen tank into the National Assembly for his swearing-in.
He arrived at about 10am, with the tank strapped on the body and the tubes snaking up his back.
He looked frail and was limping but put on a brave face and greeted the battery of journalists at the entrance.
He said: “How are you are friends…mimi pia nimefika (I’ve also made it) for the swearing-in.”
He hugged and cheerfully greeted his colleagues inside and took the oath.
Mr Nyenze, a former Environment, Heritage and Sports minister during the Kanu era, successfully defended his Kitui West seat on a Wiper Democratic Movement party ticket in the August 8 General Election.
Born on June 2, 1957 at Kabati in Kitui County, Mr Nyenze was a close ally of Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
However, he touched off a political firestorm in Ukambani when he and former Kitui Senator David Musila endorsed the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mr Nyenze is survived by his wife Edith, with whom they have a son and two daughters.
The children are Erick (30), Ruth (26) and Grace (23).
Edith eulogised her husband as a “man who was faithful to his family”.
She said he had travelled to many countries, including India and Dubai, for treatment of the cancer.
Despite the illness, she said, Mr Nyenze was talking up to Tuesday evening before he was overwhelmed.
Leaders mourn Francis Nyenze
Leaders across the country are mourning Kitui West MP who died on Wednesday morning at The Nairobi Hospital.
President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised him as legislator who served his constituents with commitment and dedication.
President Kenyatta said the late MP always championed national interests and would never allowed narrow selfish interests jeopardize the unity of Kenyans.
“I have known the late Nyenze since the time he was a Cabinet Minister under President Moi’s administration, he was always keen on preserving our unity and nationhood. I urge all of us to emulate his leadership style,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The late MP has served as a minority leader in the last parliament and was re-elected on a Wiper Democratic Party ticket in August 8 General Election.
The President said it was because of his commitment to servant leadership that the Kitui West residents re-elected him to serve them for another term of five years in parliament.
He prayed to God to give comfort and fortitude to the family and all residents of Kitui West
Meanwhile, the opposition National Supper Alliance has described Mr Nyenze as a dedicated and outspoken leader who always stood by what he believed was good for his constituents and the nation.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga in a statement said Mr Nyenze steered the coalition MPs in the 11th Parliament in a difficult and hostile environment when he was the minority leader.
“We have learnt with profound sadness of the passing earlier today of Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze following a period of hospitalisation.
“We know that his passing fills Kitui West constituents and Nasa family with powerful emotions, given the countless ways in which he served the nation and the constituency as MP, Minister, and Leader of Minority at different times in his career,” Mr Odinga said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We wish to convey heartfelt sympathies and sincere condolences to the people of Kitui West and the country at large at this tragic moment. Hon Nyenze served the people of Kitui West and the country with dedication cumulatively for decades,” he added.