When the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth had trouble getting the nomination certificate for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in the run up for 2017 elections, Mr Peter Kenneth reserved a ticket for him in his Kenya National Congress party, just in case.
In his recollection of memorable times they shared with Mr Okoth, Mr Kenneth narrated to congregants during a memorial at Starehe Boys Centre on Wednesday, how Mr Okoth had approached him, seeking advise on how to deal with his political dilemma.
This was after the ODM leader Raila Odinga’s daughter, Ms Rosemary, announced her intentions to run against him.
“Ken was struggling with party nominations and I reserved a ticket for him, just in case he missed the ODM one which he finally got,” said the former Gatanga MP at the ceremony, organised by the Starehe fraternity to celebrate the legislator, who was an old boy at the school.
Mr Okoth succumbed to colorectal cancer on Friday last week.
It was graced by family members including Mr Okoth’s widow Monica, mother Anjeline and three brothers; students and alumni who turned up in their hundreds, led by Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju.
Vice Chair Parliamentary Service Commission Naomi Shaban represented the National Assembly.
Mr Okoth’s widow narrated: “We were best friends. Ken was ill in the last two years and it was sad to watch him suffer. Thank you all for your support and love you gave us.”
“There is nothing we didn’t know about each other there nothing we haven’t forgiven about each other,” she added.
The event was characterised by more laughter than tears as congregants chose to relive and celebrate their good memories of the MP.
Childhood friends reminisced how a poor boy from the slums moulded his life through sheer hard work.
Mr Canute Waswa, who referred to the MP as Odhis, recalled how they had made 759 calls to Starehe Boys Centre alumni, asking them to fund the broke Okoth’s dream to become an MP, and they responded positively.
“Being a campaign manager of a poor aspirant was such a struggle,” said Mr Waswa, causing laughter.
“But when he won and bought his first big car, he called me and said “Do you know how reggae music sounds in a big machine?” he recalled.
Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda said Mr Okoth relinquished his position as Parliamentary committee chairman a year ago when he was overwhelmed by the hefty medical procedures.
What a journey! That is the name of a WhatsApp group started by Okoth’s friends across the world upon his demise.
“It has been outpouring with grief that captures the magnitude of his achievements and desire to make positive change in the people of Kibera,” said Mr Kenneth.
Diana Gichengo, a representative of the civil society, recalled how passionate the legislator was in pushing for the people of Kibra to be regarded highly.
“He was an astute, accessible, responsive leader, and when the ticks in his WhatsApp page failed to turn blue, we knew his strength was failing,” said Ms Gichengo.
Hundreds of people of all walks of life; educationists, human rights activists and legislators, all hailed Mr Okoth as a multi-talented leader who played his role well in these sectors.
By Anita nation.co.ke,