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Senior lawyer Nzamba Kitonga buried as BBI dominate the ceremony

By Phillip Muasya | November 8th 2020 at 15:10:21 GMT +0300

The late senior lawyer Nzamba Kitonga who was buried at his home in Kitui County. [File, Standard]

Senior constitutional lawyer Nzamba Kitonga who passed on over a week ago was on Saturday laid to rest at his Mutitu home in Kitui County.

The high powered sendoff ceremony was attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga, his Wiper party counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka, senators James Orengo, Enoch Wambua and Mutula Kilonzo Junior.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who is on a state visit to the Vatican also sent his special message through Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma.

The funeral was turned to be a forum to drum up support for the BBI report with the ODM leader saying the document was coming in to unite the country and cure the problems affecting Kenyans. Raila denied that BBI was only meant to create a position for a few leaders. He noted that the focus was to unite the country.

"What we are doing is more fundamental than becoming a prime minister or president. Kenya is bigger than all of us," he said.

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Describing the late Nzamba as a great lawyer, an arbitrator and a pan Africanist; Raila praised the fallen hero for playing a role in leading the Committee of Experts (CoE) on constitutional review which gave birth to the constitution 2010.

"The late Nzamba was very much in support of the BBI and we must ensure his work is completed," the former prime minister said.

ODM leader  Raila Odinga eulogises Nzamba Kitonga during the burial of the late senior lawyer in Matitu, Kitui County. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Raila said constitution-making is a continuous process and took a swipe at those opposed to the BBI, notably the deputy president, saying it was the same clique of people that were opposed to the current constitution.

"They said the current constitution had some bad clauses that needed to be rectified first but we said let us pass it and amend later. That time is now but they are now saying there is nothing wrong with the constitution," Raila said.

On DP's call to address issues affecting the 'small person' in the BBI, the ODM leader said that while the idea was good, the report had captured other more fundamental issues that should not be lost at the expense of issuing wheelbarrows to “mtu mdogo" Raila said.

At the same time, Raila poured cold water on the claims that in 2017 he had promised to run and serve for only one term then support his then running mate Kalonzo for the top seat.

"Even if that promise was there, but have I served for five years," Raila posed sending the mourners, including Kalonzo into laughter.

This debate was ignited by Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua who reminded the ODM leader of his promise and told him to stick true to his word.

Kalonzo said that Kitonga had cut a niche for himself as a constitutional expert and urged Kenyans to read the BBI report and point out "any mischief" contained in it.

While calling for a non-contested referendum, the Wiper leader called for an all-inclusive dialogue on the BBI agenda saying that no Kenyans should be left behind.

"We need to put our heads together. We need to have a non-contested referendum. The constitution must respond to the aspirations of the people" Kalonzo said.

He added that there was still an opportunity to work on this document "so that we don't leave any Kenyan behind."

In his speech, the president said the late Nzamba was a gift from God and 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 trailblazer in the legal profession" the president eulogized the law expert.

At the time of his death, Kitonga was the United Nations monitor for the current trials of genocide in Rwanda. Others who attended the burial were governors Kibwana and Charity Ngilu among others.



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