Former Kenya African National Union (KANU) Kisumu Branch Chairman Ken Opande has died after a long battle with illness.

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Opande who had suffered a stroke some five years ago died at the Danid Hospital in Kisumu on Wednesday.

By the time of his death, Opande who once rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty had pending hospital bills amounting to Sh3.6 million.

Area KANU officials who mourned him on Wednesday canned upon the Baringo Senator Gideon Moi-led party to lend a hand in ensuring that he gets a decent burial.

Jack Nyambega (Chairman) and Milton Obote (Secretary), stressed on the need for Opande, who died aged 56, to receive a decent send-off from the party he wholeheartedly served.

Opande was taken to hospital last year, thanks to a story by the Standard which saw his friends take him to hospital from his home in Muhoroni.

He told the paper how he took it upon himself to campaign for President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2002, after then KANU boss and President Daniel Moi declared him his preferred successor.

However, Uhuru lost.

“In 2002, Raila Odinga rallied Nyanza behind Mwai Kibaki who was the opposition presidential candidate, but Moi told us to soldier on with Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign. We lost. In 2013, I was happy to hear Uhuru take oath as the President of Kenya,” he told the paper last year.

Despite basking in connections with the mighty and unending trips to the Nakuru Statehouse to meet Moi, he died a poor man and only years after the death of his wife.