A former Kisumu Kanu branch Chairman, Ken Opande, has died after a long illness.
Mr Opande, 56, died at Kisumu’s Danid Hospital, his brothers Fred and Frank Opande, said yesterday.
Mr Opande has for the last five years been bed-ridden after he suffered stroke.
A story in The Standard that ran last year, which revealed his suffering made his friends take him to a private hospital in Kisumu.
Journalists who visited Opande at his home in Muhoroni and filed the story found him too sick to stand or walk.
Gone were the expensive suits he used to wear at the peak of his political career. He was simply clad in an oversized grey jumper and a blue track suit.
One of his teenage sons was by his side, running errands and briefing him on current affairs.
During his heydays as Kisumu Kanu Chairman, Opande was a suave and well connected politician who served as former President Daniel Moi’s pointman in Nyanza. He and the late Ogonda Osir, formed Kanu’s Young Turks who fronted the party’s ideology in the then opposition strong hold of Nyanza.
Opande and other Kanu officials made endless trips to State House Nakuru where they were hosted by Mr Moi.
In 2002, he and Mr Osir hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kisumu just weeks before he was declared Moi’s successor.
Last year, he told The Standard how he and Osir campaigned for President Kenyatta in Nyanza in 2002 on Moi’s instruction.
“In 2002, Raila Odinga rallied Nyanza behind Mwai Kibaki who was the opposition presidential candidate, but Moi told us to soldier on with Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign. We lost. In 2013, I was happy to hear Uhuru take oath as the President of Kenya,” Opande said.
Yesterday, Kisumu Kanu officials Jack Nyambega (Chairman) and Milton Obote (Secretary) mourned Opande. They appealed to the party leadership to help give Opande a decent burial.
Opande’s woes began when Kanu lost power in 2002. His family fell apart when his wife died, leaving him to take care of children. Opande had accumulated a Sh3.6 million hospital bill.