Imran, man of few words who won voters’ hearts

Even before Bernard Imran Okoth threw his hat into the race to replace his late brother Ken Okoth as Kibra MP, he had won the hearts of residents with his involvement in their lives, directly or otherwise.
Most people believe that Mr Okoth started working with Kibra residents three years ago, but his first contacts with them started as early as 2012 when his brother put in charge of the Children of Kibra Foundation, which was dedicated to uplifting the lives of needy children.
“He was the project manager.
He was the one overseeing all the projects that Ken had back home while abroad. He would trust him with all the donor funds he sent back home to run the foundation,” said one of his nephews, who did not want his name published.
His confirmation as the MPelect was just the icing on a cake that had been in the oven being prepared for years since his late brother assumed the leadership of the sprawling constituency.
Averse to publicity
Imran, as he is popularly known by Kibra residents, is an introvert and a man of few words who does not like hogging the headlines as your normal politician would do. He is averse to too much publicity. Very little of his private life is known.
“You know I cannot tell you much about his personal life as he is a man who likes keeping his life private secret,” continued the nephew.
The responsibility therein thrust him into constant interaction with residents, making him a darling of many, who praised his meticulousness.
When the time came for nominations for the ODM party ticket, it was a public secret that the ticket was his to lose.
He later triumphed over nine other aspirants in a landslide victory in September.
“People love him because of his transparent nature. Running the CDF also made him popular as bursary funds made people take noticebecause disbursements were done in a transparent manner without any favouritism. The residents had never witnessed something of the sort even during Raila Odinga’s reign.
“While running the projects, he never considered any family member for any tender. He was even being mocked during campaigns for lack of money yet he managed millions,” he added.
His late brother Ken follows Mr Okoth in the family’s birth order, although he looks younger than Ken. He is over 40 years. They were very close.
“My brother Okoth was diagnosed with stage-four colorectal cancer around October 2017. I was the first person he told and in November 2017, he flew to the US for treatment.
I had to step up for a brother and take charge,” Mr Okoth said during the memorial service of his brother.
Staunch Muslim
There is an elder sister, then another brother, Bob, who lives abroad, and then Imran, Ken and George.
His nephew said that Mr Okoth is a staunch Muslim though his other family members are all Christians.
He decided to convert to Islam largely because of his upbringing in Kibra, where most of his friends were Nubians.
“He has never left Kibra. He has spent all his life there and has settled there, where he is married with children. The name Imran is not an alias but his real name after he became a Muslim.”
Mr Okoth was born in Kisumu Ndogo, Kibra, before his family moved to Makina, living there for a while before relocating to Karanja Estate, where he is still living with his family in a house next to Kibera Primary School.
Development projects
He went to Olympic and Toi Primary Schools before joining a school in Dagoretti and then transferring to another in Kisumu.
He later joined college, where he studied four courses, including electrical engineering and bookkeeping.
“He has always been the quiet one in the family but very involved,” he said.
True to this, the MP-elect has always been brief in conversations and media briefings talking for only a few minutes.
The family member acknowledged that Mr Okoth’s star started rising after he heeded his late brother’s call to take charge of running different development projects he had initiated as he had to leave the constituency to seek treatment abroad.
This saw him become his late brother’s personal assistant, overseeing different development projects in Kibra run under the Constituency Development Fund for three years until the demise of Ken in July this year.
By Collins Omullo

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.