Luhya nation mourns Mudavadi’s chief adviser in Kakamega

A portrait of the late Mzee Lawrence Mulama Itolondo

A portrait of the late Mzee Lawrence Mulama Itolondo. He died on August 28 at the age of 91.

Photo credit: Pool

The Luhya community was plunged into mourning following the death of Lawrence Mulama Itolondo, a community elder who was influential in the political landscape of Kakamega.

Mzee Itolondo, 91, was a life member of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) before recently becoming a staunch supporter of the Amani National Congress (ANC) and an advisor of the Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.

The former Councillor in the Kakamega County Council - which covered the current Kakamega and Vihiga counties - died in Nairobi while undergoing treatment was buried on Saturday at his home next to Sigalagala National Polytechnic.

The burial was attended by Azimio leader Raila Odinga, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula and former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya among other leaders from Western.

An accountant by profession, Itolondo, who also served as chairman of the Association of Local Government Authority of Kenya (ALGAK), first tried his hand at politics in 1979 when he contested the Isukha West Ward seat in what was then Ikolomani Constituency - before it was split into Ikolomani and Shinyalu - but lost.

He contested again in 1983 and won. He held the seat until 1997 - overcoming the strong opposition wave of 1992 - before retiring from active electoral politics.

In 1987, he was elected chairman of Kakamega County Council. He resigned in 1988 but was re-elected in 1989 and served until the 1992 multi-party elections. During this period, he was also chairman of ALGAK.

Among the politicians he supported to win seats in the constituency are the late Jeremahia Murila, the late Charles Lugano Lilechi, Justus Kizito Mugali, the current Shinyalu MP, Fred Ikana as well as Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali.

Dr Machanje Ligabo, another elder from Isukha, Mzee Itolondo, a Mukumu Boys High School old boy, eulogised Mzee Itolondo as a respected elder and that his death is a big blow to his clan and Abakakamega in general.

"He was one of the most respected elders in Kakamega County and a great son of Abisukha who was one of the few educated people in the area during the pre-colonial era. We have lost a great son of the land. We wish him to join Namang'ana and other forefathers of the Abamakhaya clan.

"Itolondo would today be likened to a super governor because he was able to rule the then Kakamega County which included the present Vihiga County comprising Abanyore, Abalogoli and Abatiriki," said Dr Ligabo, 79.

Fondly called 'Mzinga' (meaning bomb) by his peers, Itolondo was a great footballer whose dribbling skills earned him the nickname 'Chenje' and will be remembered for using his love for football to help many teams in Kakamega.

According to his son, Boniface Lukulu Mulama, the late, who was a great supporter of AFC Leopards and Arsenal, loved watching football to the extent that he would challenge or celebrate a goal or decision even during the replay of matches. He also loved music, especially rumba oldies.