Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze dies aged 60 in Nairobi

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The widow of Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze, who died yesterday, recalled how her husband sorrowfully and persistently asked her to let him go in his last days.

"But every time he asked me I refused, I told him to stay longer", she told The Standard yesterday at Lee Funeral Home, where the body of the former Cabinet minister was moved following his death at 7.15am.

Signs of his failing health came to the fore when he was sworn into the 13th Parliament with an oxygen tank strapped to his body.

Despite looking frail, Nyenze put on a fearless face and took his oath with the oxygen tank behind him and tubes snaking up his back.

He said: "How are you are friends.mimi pia nimefika (I've also made it) for the swearing-in".

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"We have learnt with profound sadness of the passing earlier today of Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze following a period of hospitalisation".

He hugged and cheerfully greeted his colleagues inside and took the oath.

However, he touched off a political firestorm in Ukambani when he and former Kitui Senator David Musila endorsed the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta. "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. 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's controversial stand in the coalition did not sway his support base effectively retaining his seat in the August 8, 2017 election.

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