By OSCAR OBONYO
Former Assistant Minister Arthur Aggrey Ochwada is dead. Ochwada, an in-law to President Uhuru Kenyatta, died at a Kisumu hospital following a long illness.
Ochwada served as MP for Busia Central (present day Funyula) constituency between 1969 and 1974, and was husband to Lucy Nyokabi, a daughter of the President’s half-brother, the late Peter Muigai Kenyatta.
Ochwada’s nephew, Patrick Odongo, said the veteran politician died at the Aga Khan Hospital on Thursday night, while undergoing treatment for ailments including diabetes and high blood pressure. He was aged 87.
A pioneer trade unionist alongside the late flamboyant Justice minister Tom Mboya, Ochwada joined politics in the early 1960s, and was elected the first deputy national treasurer of independence political party Kanu. He rose to become a confidant of founding President Kenyatta, and in the process married Nyokabi as his second wife.
Ochwada was elected to Parliament in 1969 alongside his father in-law, Peter, the first-born son of Mzee Kenyatta. Kenyatta rewarded the two close friends with ministerial positions. Ochwada was appointed assistant minister for Natural Resources and Fisheries.
The late politician served for only one term before being dislodged by Julia Ojiambo and later Ochwada’s own first cousin and ninth vice-president, Moody Awori.
Speaking to The Standard On Saturday, area MP Paul Otuoma regretted Ochwada’s death. Describing him as an independence hero, Otuoma said: “The late veteran politician dedicated his youthful life to the national good and to the people of Busia County.” Otuoma condoled with members of Ochwada’s family.
Ochwada’s nephew, Odongo, said funeral plans are under way. Incidentally, Uhuru was in Nyanza for the funeral of the late Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General, David Okuta, when Ochwada died. His body lies at Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu.