MP Titus Mbathi, John Mutinda, Charity Ngilu serving Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu and George Ndotto at Ngala’s|(Right) home.
Eliud Ngala Mwendwa, one of the two remaining members of Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta’s 1963 Cabinet, has died. His death at 93 leaves Joseph Otiende as last remaining member of independent Kenya’s pioneer Cabinet.
His son Charles Kyale, yesterday confirmed that the former Labour minister succumbed to old age-related illness at the Nairobi Hospital yesterday, where he had been undergoing treatment.
“The old man passed on last night while undergoing treatment at the hospital,’’ he told the People Daily adding that the patriarch of a prominent political family had been ailing for years and was recently taken to the hospital from his Ithookwe village home near Kitui town.
Ngala was the first member of Legislative Council representing Kitui in 1961 before becoming Member of Parliament for Kitui West in the 1963 independence elections. In 1969, he moved his political base to Kitui Central until 1974 when he was floored by then youthful former Information and Broadcasting minister Daniel Mutinda.
He served in several Cabinet positions in both Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi’s government. The last public office he served in was as the chairman of now defunct Nairobi City Council.
The last time he was seen in public was in 2014 when former members of Parliament Titus Mbathi, John Mutinda, Charity Ngilu serving Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu visited him in his home.
“We consider him as our elder because he is armed with significant leadership experience accumulated over his long service to the electorate in Kitui,” Ms Ngilu said of him after the visit.
The son of senior chief Mwendwa Kitavi, Ngala was one of several family members to score a first in Kenya’s history. Others are brother Kitili Mwendwa who became Kenya’s first African chief justice and sister-in-law Nyiva Mwendwa (Kitili’s wife) who became Kenya’s first female Cabinet minister.
Another brother, Kyale Mwendwa, also served in Moi’s Cabinet.