Constitutional lawyer Nzamba Kitonga was buried yesterday in full honours of a senior counsel in a State-sponsored funeral attended by members of the bar, bench and national leaders.
At the funeral attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga and his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka in Mutitu, Kitui County, Nzamba was celebrated for his conciliatory approach to law making, commitment to law and love for his country.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma represented President Uhuru Kenyatta who is on state visit to the Vatican. Senators James Orengo (Siaya), Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni), area Governor Charity Ngilu and MP Nimrod Mbai attended the event among a host of dignitaries.
In his speech, the president said Nzamba was a gift from God. He regretted his sudden death during a constitutional moment when the country needed him the most.
“He was humble yet firm in his leadership. He had enormous influence and outstanding ability, a trail blazer in the legal profession,” the president eulogised the law expert.
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Describing Nzamba as a great lawyer, reconciliator and a panafricanist, Raila praised the fallen hero for the leading role he played at the Committee of Experts (CoE) on constitutional review, which gave birth to the 2010 Constitution.
“The late Nzamba was very much in support of the BBI and we must ensure his work is completed,” the former prime minister said.
Kalonzo said Nzamba had distinguished himself as a constitutional expert. He urged Kenyans to read the BBI report and point out “any mischief” contained in it.
He also called for a non-contested referendum in honour of Nzamba.
“We need to put our heads together. The constitution must respond to the aspirations of the people,” Kalonzo said.
Nzamba’s widow Carol Mbuvi told mourners of his non-negotiable demand for excellence and how strangers would troop to shake his hand and buy him a drink in recognition of his good work.
Mentor, friend, humorist
She also recounted the lawyer’s last moments.
“I drove like a mad woman on the winding road between Mutito and Machakos when I realised your health was taking a downturn, but little did I know that God had different and greater plans for you,” said Mbuvi.
Nzamba’s three daughters – Mwathi, Mukami and Kavengi – celebrated him as a mentor, friend, humorist. Mwathi, a lawyer who followed in her father’s footsteps, said he was ever there for her.
“I will remember our heated Saturday catch-up conversations and arguments, the sound of the chair being pulled as you prepared to go to work, your scent in the room and the sarcastic humour and arguing over why I do not watch news and politics,” Kavengi said.
Mukami hailed her father’s strength of character, knowledge and wisdom. Mourners encouraged Nzamba’s son, Ivia, to rise and take up his place.
“When I lost my father I was encouraged to take up his space. I am because he was. Just like me, you have a legacy to stand up for,” Mutula Jnr told Ivia.
Calling him by his childhood nickname “koko”, Nzamba’s brothers and sisters said he lived his life to the fullest and touched many people.