Eldoret-based human rights activist and politician Ken Wafula is dead.
Mr Wafula, who is the founder of Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD), died Wednesday morning while receiving treatment at Eldoret St Luke’s Hospital where he had been rushed after falling ill at his Kapsoya residence.
According to family members and colleagues, Mr Wafula was admitted to the hospital suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes.
“He was taken to the hospital on Tuesday at around noon after his condition deteriorated and doctors unsuccessfully tried to save his life. He was in high spirits when I left him last evening only to be told this morning that he had passed on,” said Mr Nick Omito, who co-founded CHRD with Mr Wafula.
SPOKE HIS MIND
Mr Omito described Mr Wafula as a committed human rights defender who did not shy away from speaking his mind on issues affecting the common man.
“He was in the forefront championing protection of witnesses during the prosecution of suspects at the International Criminal Court (ICC) accused of perpetrating the 2007/2008 post-election violence,” said Mr Omito who condoled the family.
When Nation team visited Mr Wafula’s home, a sombre mood was evident with close family members and colleagues yet to come to terms with his death.
Mr Wafula’s wife, Mariam Njoki, who is eight months pregnant, was on Wednesday yet to come to terms with the death of her husband.
CHRD Director Kipkorir Ng’etich who spoke on behalf of the family said that Mr Wafula was admitted on Tuesday at 2pm after developing health complications.
IN GOOD SPIRITS
“Until Tuesday, Ken has had no other health complications and has been in good spirit. We call on members of the public to await the post-mortem examination and stop speculating over his death,” Mr Ng’etich told the press at the family home.
Mr Ng’etich disclosed that until his death, Mr Wafula had been very disturbed by the democratic space in the country.
Mr Ng’etich said that Mr Wafula was planning to petition for the removal Uasin Gishu County enforcement officers after a video of the officers harassing hawkers at the Eldoret main market went viral.
His colleagues Wednesday spoke very passionately of Mr Wafula whom they said had made both friends and foes following the position he took on the ICC issue which saw six Kenyans including President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto charged for crimes against humanity at The Hague-based court.
In a statement, the NGO Council said that it has been saddened by the death of Mr Wafula.
NGO Council Chairman Wilson Kipkazi described Mr Wafula as a bold human rights crusader and a fearless leader.
“As an activist, he spoke his mind and ventured into areas feared by many and his contribution to democratic space will be missed,” said Mr Kipkazi.
Local leaders paid tribute to Mr Wafula describing him as an honest activist who sacrificed his life for the benefit of others.
“He always championed for justice for all which saw him brush shoulders with the high and mighty in the society but never shied away from speaking his mind,” said Mr Kipkorir Mosonik of Eldoret.
For his selfless efforts to condemn wrongs and criticise evils in the society, Mr Wafula was on many occasions arrested and arraigned in court for incitement.
He also received death threats several times, forcing him to go underground for some time.
Mr Wafula unsuccessfully run as an independent candidate for the Trans Nzoia senatorial seat in the last elections.