President Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga have led the nation in mourning Kitui West Member of Parliament Francis Nyenze, who succumbed to colon cancer on Wednesday morning at The Nairobi Hospital.
His family said the MP has been battling cancer in the last 10 years and was admitted at the facility three weeks ago when his condition worsened.
President Kenyatta eulogized him as a leader who served his constituents with commitment and dedication. “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."
The late MP served as a minority leader in the 11th parliament and defended his seat on a Wiper Democratic Party ticket in August 8th General Election.
Opposition leader Odinga described the 60-year-old as a dedicated and outspoken politician, who stood by his principles and fought for his constituents. “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,” 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.
Nyenze was first elected parliament in 1997 as MP for Kitui West on a KANU Party ticket. He became a close ally to then President Daniel Moi, leading to his appointment as Minister for Environment and later to the Heritage and Sports Ministry during a Cabinet reshuffle in 2001.
Nyenze was defeated in the race to retain his seat in the 2002 elections by his then rival, Winnie Nyiva Mwendwa. He however recaptured the seat in 2013 and successfully defended in the 2017 election.