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Kanu era politician Mark Too dies in Eldoret hospital

Former nominated MP Mark Too is dead.

The Kanu-era politician died on Saturday afternoon at St Lukes orthopaedic and trauma centre in Eldoret barely an hour after he was rushed to the facility by his relatives.

When the Nation team visited the hospital, a somber mood was evident with family member and leaders among them Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, talking in hushed tones and yet to come to terms with the loss of the veteran politician.

According to Dr Ahmed Faraj who examined him, Mr Too seemed jovial in the morning and even had a chat with his workers at his farm at Kapseret near Eldoret International Airport.

LOCKED HIMSELF

“The workers became suspicious after Mr Too locked himself in his room for long and they had to break the door. That is when they found him unconscious on the floor of his bathroom,” said Dr Faraj.

He was rushed to Lukes orthopaedic and trauma centre where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

“He was treated over the Christmas period after he developed stomach complications,” said Dr Faraj.

President Uhuru Kenyatta mourned Too as a jovial easy-going character who was humble and caring.

The president expressed his condolences to the family, and prayed that God grants them the strength to endure this loss.

In his message of condolence, Deputy President William Ruto eulogised Mr Too as an industrious, affable and charming leader.

“He used humour and wit to win over many and never kept a grudge. Mark Too was a friend to peace and unity of communities. He had a wealth of knowledge and experience which he shared with leaders, business people and farmers alike,” he added.

JOVIAL MOOD

Mr Too is said to have arrived from Nakuru on Saturday morning and, according to workers who spoke to the Nation, he was in a jovial mood.

Among those who were in the hospital was his brother Clement Tirop and wife Mary Too.

“I received a call this morning that my brother was unwell only to arrive at the hospital to learn that he is dead. I can confirm that we’ve lost him,” said Mr Tirop.

Mr Sudi described him as a shrewd leader who was always in touch with problems facing the common people.

Mr Too’s last public appearance was during last year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations at 64 Stadium in Eldoret where he called for unity among leaders in the North Rift as the country gears up for the 2017 General Election.

The veteran politician had earlier in the month accompanied President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto in Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties where the duo launched a series of development projects.

Mr Too, who was a staunch Kanu supporter, made it to Parliament as a Kanu nominated MP in 1997 before he stepped down for then Thika Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta.

POWER-BROKER

Mr Kenyatta later succeeded retired president Mwai Kibaki as the country’s fourth President. Mr Too was at one time Nandi Kanu branch chairman where he wielded a lot of power, earning the famous nickname “Bwana Dawa” and “Mr Fix It” due to his efforts as a power-broker during retired president Daniel arap Moi’s era.

He unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seats in Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties.

Mr Too was a close confidant of retired president Moi and had friends across the political divide as well as key leaders across the continent.

Mr Too was at one time appointed Lonrho East Africa chairman where his fortunes flourished even more, especially in countries where the British firm had branches in Africa.

Mr Too has of late been fighting land cases in court with some squatters suing him over the ownership of more than 25,000 acres in Eldoret town.

The more than 800 squatters, who are members of the Sirikwa Squatters Group, claim they were allocated the land by former president Moi in 1998.

The squatters, who appeared before Eldoret High Court Judge Cecilia Gitua, argued that the land was illegally transferred to other people, who include Mark Too.

Through their lawyer William Arusei, the squatters now want the case transferred to Chief Justice David Maraga. The case is still pending in court.