Lawyer Nzamba Kitonga, who chaired the defunct Committee of Experts that authored the Constitution in 2010 is dead.
Sources privy to the death revealed that the outspoken lawyer suffered a cardiac arrest, after leaving a burial he had attended on Saturday.
Nzamba was born in 1956 in Kitui County and has died at the age of 64.
He was also active in political matters and vied for the Kitui gubernatorial seat in 2013, but lost the former governor Julius Malombe.
Nzamba held positions such as the president of the East Africa Law Society and COMESA Court of Justice
He was among the shortlisted candidates for the position of Chief Justice of Kenya to replace Willy Mutunga.
Recently, the lawyer criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta for delaying to appoint the 41 judges.
He said that due to the delay, the backlog of cases has now crippled operations at our courts beyond imagination.
“The courts are now very desperate. Even lawyers and litigants are increasingly becoming desperate.”
The lawyer has been vocal on BBI matters. He had proposed a hybrid system of governance as proposed by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Various leaders joined the family and friends in mourning the lawyer.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko tweeted: “It is with profound shock and sadness that I have learned of the passing on of one of Kenya’s finest constitutional lawyers this evening, Philip Nzamba Kitonga.”
Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi said the sudden death was a blow to the legal fraternity.
“The burden and pain of untimely death has weighed down upon the Law Society of Kenya heavily today. We have just lost Nzamba Kitonga SC this evening,” he posted on his Twitter handle.
Chief Justice David Maraga said the lawyer was one of Kenya’s most distinguished legal practitioners and a key pillar in the country’s constitutional journey.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, in a statement, said she had received the sad news of the passing on of Mr Kitonga with a heavy heart.
“My condolences to his wife, children and the entire family. Kitui has lost an illustrious son of great repute. Kenya has lost an accomplished constitutional scholar and leader,” she said.
She added; “Nzamba’s immense contribution to the crafting and promulgation of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya and his role in expanding the democratic space that we all enjoy will be remembered for generations to come.”
The Raila Odinga-led party eulogized the lawyer for his contribution in drafting Kenya’s Constitution.
“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.”
Deputy President William Ruto termed Nzamba as a man of gregarious personality, modest yet a gifted and far-sighted leader who was genuinely committed to public service and social justice.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior has described Nzamba as ‘a gentleman and one of the top legal minds in Kenya. Rest In Peace our dear friend and senior.’
The lawyer has been praised for his patience and understanding in handling constitutional matters.