The late Senator Otieno Kajwang' (right) with his brother T.J. Kajwang' (Ruaraka MP) at the Oyugis meeting on November 14, 2014. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
By ISAAC ONGIRI
Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang' complained of mild breathing problems on Thursday last week and had indicated he planned to see a doctor over it.
Busia Senator Amos Wako said Mr Kajwang', who died suddenly on Tuesday night, told him he was "feeling breathless" after a parliamentary session last week.
"He was a great friend. We were chatting with him last Thursday when I complained I was feeling a bit unwell and he told me he was also feeling breathless and needed to see a doctor about it,” said Mr Wako.
The following day the senator was in Oyugis, where he hosted ODM leader Raila Odinga, who was in the area to chair a party convention for Nyanza leaders.
Mr Wako, who is in Addis Ababa leading a delegation of Kenyan parliamentarians at a continental conference, described the senator as an eloquent debater who made sense every time he rose to contribute in the House.
Mr Wako said he met Mr Kajwang' in Parliament on Tuesday evening before he flew out for the Addis Ababa meeting.
"I sat next to him in the chambers before I left for the airport and we joked a bit.
“I asked him what his punchline was about the motion which was being debated and he said, 'I have no punchline today'," Mr Wako said.
TIRELESS ODM SUPPORTER
He described Mr Kajwang' as a tireless ODM supporter who served the party with devotion and all his available stamina.
Other members of the Kenyan delegation in Addis Ababa, including nominated Senator Janet Ongera, Nairobi County Woman Representative Rachael Shebesh and Kuresoi MP Zachayo Cheruiyot, also expressed shock at the sudden demise of the vocal Homa Bay senator.
Ms Ongera described Kajwang’s death as a disaster for opposition politics in Kenya, saying the senator was a great asset whose loss is immeasurable.
"This is openly a disaster for us in the opposition. His contribution to the liberation of Kenya, especially during the 2005 and the 2010 referenda, is unforgettable. I called him Mr Punchline. I am so saddened by the turn of events," the senator said.
Ms Shebesh, who arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday morning, expressed shock at the news of Mr Kajwang`s death.
"Last evening up to around 8pm, Kajwang' turned up at the parliamentary lobby, where we had drinks together. He was jovial and happy.
He joked freely with everyone. That was around 8.30pm. He then met Hon Mohammed Elmy briefly then he met a few of his supporters who had come to Parliament to see him. I am shocked about the news of his death,” the MP told the Nation in Addis Ababa.
Mr Cheruiyot said Mr Kajwang' was a serious public mobiliser whose presence at a political event would pull huge crowds.
"He was a great politician to be honest. A memorable crowd puller whose death has left a huge gap in the political arena,” the Kuresoi MP said.