KENYA: Shock turned into grief on Saturday as Kenyans learnt of the sudden death of high-profile lawyer-turned-politician, Senator Mutula Kilonzo of Makueni County.
A jovial Mutula reportedly arrived at his Kwa Kyelyu ranch near Maanzoni Lodge on Mombasa road, on Friday afternoon and retired to bed never to wake up. Upon getting the news, The Standard On Sunday team rushed to his home, a few kilometres from Nairobi, to find several policemen and pathologists crowded in his compound.
According to a housekeeper who found Mutula’s body in his bedroom, the politician arrived at the farmhouse about 2pm and appeared okay. The Senator retreated to his bedroom after having his favourite meal of githeri and roast meat at 7pm.
A worker who did not wish to be named said his boss was in a jovial mood when he arrived home driving himself: “He parked the vehicle at the parking bay and walked into the house after greeting us.”
Sources said the late Mutula usually showed up for his breakfast between 9.30 and 10.30 whenever he is on the farm. But on Saturday he did not, prompting his long-serving cook to go and wake him up.
Cook’s knocks unanswered
The aged cook said he knocked on his boss’ door several times without reply. He then turned on the door’s handle and went in: “He appeared deeply asleep with a lot of foam coming from his mouth,” he said adding that he immediately called for the farm manager.
The manager then called Mutula’s son Mutula KilonzoJunior and a brother in law, Chris Musau, who were the first to arrive at the scene. Police officers led by Machakos Deputy OCPD Wambugu and DCIO Kavete Kuloba visited the homestead after being informed by the late minister’s family.
He was the only one in the main house, as the rest of the family was said to be in his Muthaiga home, in Nairobi.
According to the police, the deceased had vomited on his bathroom sink, a pointer to the fact that he woke up at some point to vomit and went back to sleep.
Pathologists led by Chief Government pathologist, Dr Johansen Oduor performed preliminary examination on the body before removing and taking it to Nairobi’s Lee Funeral Home.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka cut short their engagements and flew to Mutula’s home on Saturday.
“Nobody, for now, knows exactly happened, so let us allow pathologists to carry out their work and give us their findings,” said Kalonzo.
Raila termed Mutula’s death a tragedy saying he had been with him 48 hours before his shocking death: “We want to assure everyone that we shall do everything possible to ensure the cause of his death is established and made known.”
An equally shocked President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was saddened by the untimely death of Senator Kilonzo. He described the late Kilonzo as “one of the country’s most brilliant minds, a principled politician and renowned lawyer”.
Politician and leader
The Head of State further observed that the late Kilonzo was an astute politician and leader who was immensely popular among the people of Makueni County and beyond. “It was on the strength of his charismatic leadership that KANU nominated him to Parliament in 2003,” said Kenyatta, who worked with Mutula as leader of KANU in the Ninth Parliament.
Mutula was particularly close to Busia County Senator Amos Wako and his Siaya County counterpart, James Orengo. The two were legal contemporaries, with whom he worked closely, including the crafting of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008, which formed the Grand Coalition Government in the Tenth Parliament.
Then Wako was the Attorney General, while Mutula and Orengo, served legal minds for Mwai Kibaki andRaila Odinga, respectively. Our efforts to reach either of the two failed as their phones went unanswered.-The Standard