Dark year for Parliament as it loses four legislators - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 26 December 2020

Dark year for Parliament as it loses four legislators


The year 2020 has been a dark period for Parliament as it lost four legislators, three of them in a span of 28 days.

Two members of the National Assembly and a senator died between November 14 and December 11.

Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka died on December 11 at The Nairobi Hospital, just eight days after Kabuchai MP James Lusweti passed on at the same facility.

Matungu MP Justus Murunga died on November 14, at St Mary’s Mumias, nine months after the death of Msambweni legislator Suleiman Dori, who breathed his last on March 9 at the Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa.

Msambweni voters have already gone to the polls and elected Independent candidate Feisal Bader in a hotly contested by-election on December 15.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has since given the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) the go ahead to prepare for and conduct the Matungu constituency by-election.

Muturi issued writs in a special Gazette notice of December 4, 2020, officially declaring the seat vacant. The electoral body has until March 4, 2021 to conduct the by-election as provided for in the Constitution.

Muturi has also declared the Kabuchai parliamentary seat vacant in the gazette notice dated December 18, 2020.

Muturi said it was a sad moment for Parliament having lost two members in a short period.

“I reckon that this is a sad moment for us at the National Assembly who have now lost two colleagues from the same region in a span of one month,” Muturi said.

But perhaps the darkest year for Parliament was in 2006 when the House lost six members in a plane accident in Marsabit.

Following the tragedy, retired President Kibaki announced three days of national mourning.

A military plane crashed into a hillside in bad weather and burst into flames, killing 14 people on a peace mediation mission. Those on board the Y-12 plane were on a mission to mediate between feuding communities in the region.

The six legislators who died were Guracha Galgalo (Moyale), Bonaya Godana (North Horr), Abdi Sasura (Saku), Titus Ngoyoni (Laisamis), Abdullahi Adan (East African Legislative Assembly) and former Assistant Minister Mirugi Kariuki (Nakuru).

Officials said the crash was caused by bad weather conditions including heavy rain and thick fog.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has been leading Kenyans in mourning the deaths of lawmakers this year.

Lusweti was a second-term Ford Kenya party MP and had been suffering from arthritis and gout since 1998, with his condition worsening since March.

In July, the MP was flown to Nairobi for medication after becoming seriously ill. Before that, he had spent a week at Bungoma West Hospital in Kanduyi.

Murunga, on the other hand, died after developing breathing complications while being rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in Mumias.

The MP had been battling diabetes and hypertension and had been admitted at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu for two weeks. He was discharged after his condition improved.

Murunga was relatively healthy until 2019 when he developed complications that prompted medical checkups.

Muturi said he learnt with great sadness of the untimely demise of Murunga on the evening of his death.

Kabaka was rushed to hospital on Friday, December 4, after he collapsed while at an apartment in Nairobi's Kilimani area.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said Kabaka had undergone a procedure to remove a clot before his passing.

Kabaka was a first time senator elected on the Chama Cha Uzalendo party ticket.

Lusaka said the Senate and the country had lost a great leader who served his people diligently.

He noted that Kabaka served in various Senate committees apart from being the vice chairperson of the Committee on Delegated Legislation. He also served in Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Devolution and Inter-Governmental Relations Committees.

Dori, a second-term lawmaker had been admitted the Aga Khan Hospital for a few days before he died.

He passed on early at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit at teh age of 42.

Muturi mourned Dori as a champion of the empowerment of the people he represented and coast residents in general.

“Dori who also served as the chairperson of the Coast Parliamentary Group will be remembered for his profound articulation of issues affecting not only his constituents, but also the residents of Kwale County and the Coastal Region at large. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Muturi remarked.

There was a special Senate sitting on Monday for members to eulogise Kabaka.

Lusaka reiterated that the House had lost a great leader, an articulate debater and a principled legislator.

He described Kabaka as a distinguished man who passionately served not just the people of Machakos county but Kenya in general.

“Kabaka relentlessly advocated for the needs of his constituents and actively participated in community projects aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of Machakos,” Lusaka said.

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