The former chairman of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) Samuel Kivuitu dies in Nairobi aged 74.Mr Kivuitu died while undergoing cancer treatment at the MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi.He was in and out of hospital for the past two years and recently sought treatment in India for throat cancer.The body was removed to the Lee Funeral Home.The late Kivuitu’s Garden Estate residence was deserted, save for one of his sons and a houseboy, who identified himself as Nzomo Mbongoyo.Mr Mbongoyo fought back tears as he recounted the last moments with his departed boss.“I’ve been leaving here with Mzee. I had just finished washing him yesterday (Monday) when his condition suddenly deteriorated forcing us to rush him to hospital,” he stated.His son, who declined to be identified, interjected at this point saying the family would issue a statement at the MP Shah Hospital.“We are not granting any interview here. The larger family will issue a statement at MP Shah in the next one hour,” he stated before leading Mr Mbongoyo to the house.Prime Minister Raila Odinga mourned the late Kivuitu saying he was "a forthright man who often spoke his mind, without fear or favour".
"I do know for a fact that Mr Kivuitu did not hesitate to speak his mind about the problems we faced, even as we embarked on the 2007 elections, particularly when it came to the controversial appointment of the Electoral Commission in a manner that most flagrantly violated the Inter-Parties Political Agreement (IPPG) spirit as had been negotiated prior to the 1997 elections," said Mr Odinga."How nice-it would have been, had God extended Mr Kivuitu’s life a little longer, just to witness the new transition that we are all expecting during the forthcoming 2013 on March 4, under a brand new Kenyan Constitution and new electoral laws!"In all, I have no doubt that Mr Kivuitu rendered most valuable service to our nation and made enormous personal sacrifices; including of health to steer the elections. Indeed, there is no doubt that his tenure at the Electoral Commission offers important lessons for all of us in Kenya, and we do certainly pray that his soul rests in eternal peace. May his family have the courage and fortitude to bear their loss during this very difficult time," said the PM.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka condoled Mr Kivuitu's family saying he was saddened by his death and suffered "deep sorrow" and "sense of loss".Mr Musyoka said he had known the late Kivuitu as a close parliamentary colleague, lawyer and friend.He described the deceased as "a humble, stoic, philanthropic and a social person who always strived to give his best to humanity and in particular to his country".As ECK chairman, Mr Kivuitu presided over disputed 2007 General Election.The disputed poll led to the post election violence in which 1,133 people were killed and 650,000 displaced.In a past interview with the Nation after weeks of treatment in India, the former elections chief said although the effects of the disease had slowed him down, he hoped to participate in the March 4 General Election as an observer and document his expertise in election management in a book.
In the interview, Mr Kivuitu blamed President Kibaki’s appointment of members of the electoral commission for the bungled elections. He maintains that he did nothing wrong.He said the skewed appointment of electoral commissioners deprived his team of public confidence.President Kibaki ignored calls by the opposition, then led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to involve it in filling positions in the defunct ECK.“Commissioners were appointed in a way that I disapproved. President Kibaki should have consulted the opposition. I was not in full control of the commission because I was working with people who were uncomfortable with me,” he said.