Juja MP Francis Munyua Waititu prepared his family for his death according to his son Michael Munyua who even revealed his final words.
Famously known as “Wakapee”, Waititu died on Monday evening at MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi while undergoing treatment. He had brain cancer.
The family of the MP, the sixth legislator to die in office, yesterday recounted their last moments with a man they described as humble, hardworking, and philanthropic.
The MP’s second born son, Michael Munyua, said his father had prepared them emotionally when his health deteriorated in the last few days.
“I saw a very strong man when the diagnosis came. Doctors said he had a very short time to live because the tumour was aggressive,” he said.
The younger Munyua added: “He kept reminding us of what God had done for him, and that he was left with very little to do for both the family and the county.”
He said despite being sick, his father was active in positively influencing the lives of other people. He said his father sponsored a sports tournament in India where he was undergoing treatment.
“We celebrate his life as a family. It has been an interesting journey for all of us. He was a mentor to all of us,” said Munyua.
He went on: “I would ask him where he got all the energy when he was still ailing and he would say that when God says it’s your time, you will have to go. He had told us that when that time comes and we don’t see him, we should appreciate God’s will. That message has given us the courage to celebrate his life.”
The father of four was a second-term MP.
Waititu was diagnosed with cancer in India in October 2018. He said he decided to go for cancer screening after his mother was diagnosed with stage two brain cancer in 2017. She was later declared cancer-free after undergoing a 10-month treatment.
Waititu’s 60-year-old sister died in 2016 from stage four liver cancer.
His daughter Terry described him as a fighter, saying her father only looked weak during his last days.
“Nothing would put him down but the last two days were tough for him and us all. We are letting him go in peace,” she said.
Waititu had to stay away from work on the advice of doctors.
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Even as he fought the disease, Waititu’s wish was to participate in the construction of a cancer centre in Juja to ease the pain of Kenyans travelling abroad for cancer treatment. He would say that some families and caregivers who accompany their loved ones to India suffer to an extent of sleeping in the streets.
He believed a local cancer centre would facilitate early screening and treatment at significantly lower costs. The initial plan was to bring together the National Government, the Kiambu County Government, doctors from India, and local business people in the construction of the centre near Mang’u High School.
During his treatment journey, Waititu mentioned that a significant number of public figures were suffering from the disease and could not seek treatment in Kenya, partly because of the stigma associated with it.
He had said some 63 MPs (from the National Assembly and the Senate) and thousands of other Kenyans were suffering from cancer, with the treatment burden on their families’ shoulders.
Waititu had a tumor on the left temporal lobe of his brain, which became cancerous in February 2018.
Munyua worked closely with his father, being his Personal Assistant since 2015 and helping him run the constituency since 2017 when he became ill.
Yesterday, dozens of mourners trooped to the family’s home to condole with them even as leaders paid tribute to the MP.
President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised Waititu as a progressive, trusted and devoted leader.
The Head of State applauded the late legislator for his contribution and commitment to the fight against cancer in the country, saying the MP continuously raised public awareness on the disease.
“We’ve lost a very progressive, trusted and committed leader whose public actions always reflected the interests of his constituents. It is because of the trust and love that the people of Juja had for Hon Waititu that they entrusted him with a second term in a very competitive election despite his illness,” the president said.
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