A Nairobi ward rep reveals how she first met the Kibra MP and how they were smitten with each other
Ken Okoth was always an ambitious young man. From his roots in Kibra, he dreamt big, studied hard and attended some of the best schools locally and top-league universities abroad.
And then, in 2013, a fire lit up in his belly. He wanted to be the Member of Parliament for Kibra, which he had served in various ways as a community
At around the same time, a young woman named Anne Muthoni Thumbi was taking her nursing steps at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.
She was in her early 20s when she first met the towering Okoth at the hospital.
Ken, then a bubbly 33-year-old man, was instantly smitten. He approached Anne and asked her out. She agreed, attracted by his lanky physique, dark skin tone and raucous laugh.
“He was a good man,” she told the Nation yesterday in the first interview since the saga surrounding the paternity of a child she claims she bore with the MP broke. “So loving and always positive about life.”
The two started meeting often, and the fire in the soon-to-be Kibra MP burnt bright.
As the political campaigns heated up, Ken asked Anne to lead his team. Every morning the two would meet in Kibra to strategise, then spend the day knocking on doors and addressing small barazas (meetings).
Friends who worked with them described the two as more of lovebirds than political strategists. Even as they campaigned in the trenches of Kibra, they dreamt of a life together, drawn to each other by the shared ambition during the day and the powerful tom-toms of their hearts later on in the evening.
Ken won the seat in March 2013, but the victory was not enough for him, and so he used his political connections to have Anne nominated as a member of the Nairobi County Assembly.
From then on, the love affair between the two politicians blossomed, says Anne.
Two years later, in 2015, the couple was blessed with a baby boy. Anne said Ken immediately assumed the fatherly role and “was always there” for them. They named the little boy Jayden Baraka Okoth.
“Ken was elated,” said Robert Sidhe, a friend of the couple.
Soon afterwards, Ken visited Anne’s parents in Nyeri, where he introduced himself as Anne’s lover.
Photos shared on social media also show Jayden meeting with Ken’s mother, Ms Angeline Ajwang, at an undisclosed location. It is not clear when the photo was taken, or whether Ms Ajwang considered Jayden Ken’s son at the time.
Anne and Ken did not live together, but the Nairobi MCA says Ken remained in Jayden’s life. He bought him his first bicycle and always enquired about his development milestones and, later, performance in school.
“Being keen on education, he always asked how Jayden was doing in school and whenever he could he would check on his progress with the teachers,” said Anne.
Their love affair remained hidden as Ken had a wife, Monica, whom he had met while studying in Austria.
But Anne still considered herself Ken’s partner as she had remained a constant in his life.
Ken, who died last Friday after battling colorectal cancer for two years, appears to have had a premonition that he would be no more in a few days.
From his hospital bed in Paris, even as he prepared to come back to Kenya for his last days, he sent Anne a text message, urging her to “take care of our son”.
It is that message, along with the years the two spent together, that forced Anne to come out of the woodwork this week and claim a place in Ken’s burial arrangements.
But Ken’s family would hear none of it, and so yesterday she went to court seeking to have the burial of her secret lover stopped until the controversy surrounding Jayden’s paternity is resolved.
She sued Ken’s mother, Angeline, his widow Monica, and the Lee Funeral Home as the first, second and third defendants, respectively.
The court barred the parties from either burying or cremating Ken’s remains until the matter is resolved.
The hearing of the case is scheduled for August 9.
As news of the court order broke yesterday, political leaders were leading thousands of mourners in paying their last respects to Ken in Kibra, Nairobi.
Among those in attendance was Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who stirred controversy when he asked Ken’s family to acknowledge that their son had “another wife and a child”.
“I respect you Mama and Monica,” said Mr Sonko, referring to Ken’s mother Angeline and his wife.
“Ken had a child and I ask you to just accept the child because Ken is not happy where he is, knowing his son has not been accepted. We are not asking you for anything; we have the capacity to school that child.”
BY Daily Nation ANITA CHEPKOECH