Senior Counsel Nzamba Kitonga Dies

  • Senior Counsel Philip Nzamba Kitonga.
    Senior Counsel Philip Nzamba Kitonga.
    File
  • Senior Counsel Philip Nzamba Kitonga passed away on Saturday night, October 24, at the age of 64.

    Speaking to the media, the family revealed that the highly-respected lawyer collapsed while attending a burial in Kitui and was pronounced dead after being rushed to Shalom Hospital in Machakos.

    Kitonga was a respected legal mind who served as the Chairman of the Committee of Experts (CoE) that played a critical part in writing the current constitution. 

    He had also served as the Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), worked as President of the Comesa Court of Justice, and had unsuccessfully contested the Kitui gubernatorial seat in 2013.

    Former Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (Left), Lawyers Nzamba Kitonga (Centre) and Apolo Mboya (Right)
    Former Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (Left), Lawyers Nzamba Kitonga (Centre) and Apolo Mboya (Right)
    File

    News of his demise resulted in a nation-wide outpouring of messages of condolences.

    "Philip Nzamba Kitonga was a fine intellectual and a legal giant who was deeply devoted to the democratic process, bringing about much-needed reforms to our country through the new constitution.

    "A man of gregarious personality, Senior Counsel Kitonga was modest yet a gifted and far-sighted leader who was genuinely committed to public service and social justice. We will remember most his resolute belief to pursue what is right," reads an excerpt from Deputy President William Ruto's condolence message.

    His sentiments were echoed by ODM Party leader Raila Odinga, as the two shelved their political rivalry to unite in celebrating the life of Kitonga who hailed from Kitui.

    Senior Counsel Kitonga's untimely demise came as a massive blow to the legal fraternity and the country, coming at a time the document he helped craft is being subjected to a review under the Building Bridges Initiative jointly spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

    "I have received with deep shock news of the passing of Dr Nzamba Kitonga, one of our country’s eminent lawyers; a first-rate legal mind and fighter for constitutionalism. Dr Kitonga consistently interpreted the constitution to make sure it grew with our people and our nation," Raila revealed.

    Before his death, he had revealed how they navigated around the political parties and ethnic considerations to strike a consensus on the contentious issues - ultimately birthing what has been described as one of the world's most progressive constitutions.

    Born and raised in Kitui, the late Kitonga beat all odds to not only become an icon in Kenya's legal fraternity, but to serve as the president of the East African Law Society.

    "My thoughts and prayers go to his grieving family, friends, the legal fraternity and all the people of Kenya on the loss of this brilliant son of the soil. Indeed it is a great loss. May God bless and rest his soul in eternal peace," Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko tweeted.

    Committee of Experts chairman Nzamba Kitonga (left) receives the Naivasha draft from PSC chairman Mohammed Abdikadir and deputy chairman Ababu Namwaba in Nairobi.
    Committee of Experts chairman Nzamba Kitonga (left) receives the Naivasha draft from PSC chairman Mohammed Abdikadir and deputy chairman Ababu Namwaba in Nairobi.
    File