The former Iteso Cultural Leader Gabriel Itela died on Wednesday.
According to his Nephew Chris Odwali, Mzee Itela woke up well but developed breathing problems leading to his sudden death.
Odwali added that his uncle who had high blood pressure, went about his normal duties on Tuesday without any signs of ill health.
In his condolence message, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said the news of the sudden death of Iteso Cultural Union Deputy Prime Minister and former career banker Gabriel Itela is a big blow to the cultural unity of the Iteso community.
“I have received the news of the death of Mzee Itela 79, with shock and disbelief considering our close interaction on cultural matters since the installation of Emormor Augustine Osuban as the Iteso cultural leader in the year 2000,” he said.
Among some of the cultural benefits the Teso community from Kenya derived from the union under his astounding leadership is sustained unity of its people, embracing, and sustaining cultural practices and customs for the current and future generations.
Through the border unity with the Teso in Uganda and the Teso in Kenya, it has made the community have one cultural voice as a people with one direction.
Ojaamong added that it is our prayer that in the coming years, Kenya’s constitution should also recognize traditional kings and fund their activities in honor of the fallen cultural leader.
He said he remembers with nostalgia the role the late Itela played in revolutionizing the banking sector when he was director at the Standard chartered and the Central Bank of Kenya.
The late was the first CDF chairman in the larger Teso and he contested the Amagoro Constituency parliamentary seat during the first multi-party elections in 1992 and finished third.