Former Member of Parliament for Bungoma South (now Kanduyi) and Bumala Lawrence Sifuna has died. Mr Sifuna, 77, died while receiving treatment at an Eldoret hospital after suffering stroke a few days ago.
The former lawmaker was known for his passionate advocacy for the rights of sugar cane farmers in Bungoma County. Born on January 23, 1946, Mr Sifuna was the first MP for Bumula Constituency from 1979 to 1988.
A trained chartered accountant, Sifuna was a Fellow of Chartered Accountants and a Fellow of the Association of International Accountants.
One of Sifuna's notable achievements was his advocacy for the welfare of sugar cane farmers in Bungoma County. He passionately fought for their rights and worked to improve their living conditions.
He was also known as a left-wing member of parliament in the 1980s. He fearlessly challenged former Attorney General Charles Mugane Njonjo and criticised government policies that violated the basic human rights of Kenyans.
Due to this, he was branded as one of the seven ‘bearded sisters’, a term coined by Mr Njonjo.
The seven were Abuya Abuya (Kitutu East), Onyango Midika (Nyando now Muhoroni), Mwashengu wa Mwachofi (Wundanyi), James Orengo, Mr Sifuna, Chibule wa Tsuma (Kaloleni) and Koigi wa Wamwere (Nakuru North, now Subukia). Others closely associated with the seven were George Anyona, Chelagat Mutai and Wasike Ndobi.
“A true friend and comrade in the struggle has passed on. Lawrence Sifuna was a key pillar in our reformist club "The Seven Bearded Sisters"; an astute debater and true patriot of this country,” Mr Orengo said.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga mourned: “Deeply saddened by the passing of Hon. Lawrence Simiyu Sifuna, a former MP, key figure in the second liberation, defender of the people, and a life member of ODM.”
Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua said: “Condolences to the family of the late Hon Lawrence sifuna an accomplished debater who ably represented his constituents and Kenyans in general. It was an honour to work with him in the seventh parliament.”
Sifuna played an important role in the larger group that fought for Kenya's second liberation. He was actively involved in movements and initiatives aimed at bringing about political and social change in the country.
In the 1988 General Election, Sifuna lost his seat to Mr Maurice Makhanu, a former North Eastern Provincial Commissioner, after Bungoma South constituency was renamed Kanduyi.
He, however, made a comeback in the first multi-party General Election in 1992. He reclaimed his seat on a Ford Asili ticket, reaffirming his popularity and influence among the people of Bungoma County.
Throughout his political career, he became a well-known figure in Bungoma County and was highly respected for his contributions to the development of the region.
Even after he retired from active politics, Sifuna continued to be involved in various community development projects. His commitment to making a difference in people's lives was unwavering until his final days.
His charisma, dedication and tireless advocacy for the rights of sugar cane farmers will forever be etched in the history of Bungoma County.