Ken Okoth a man of the people is no more. The Kibra MP breathed his last on July 26 after a long battle with colorectal cancer.
The legislator was a bold cancer warrior and he never shied away off from sharing his progress with the public.
Well, below are the things you didn’t know about Ken Okoth.
1. He was born and raised in Kibera slums in Kibra’s Kisumu Ndogo in 1978 in a family of six. His father abandoned them leaving his mother to bring them up as a single mother.
In a past interview with Daily Nation, he narrated his past life experience, which moved many to tears.
I grew up in Kibra. We lived in a 10 by 10 hovel about 30 metres away from the railway line where the trains’ rumbles that ought to invoke danger were the norm.
Their house was brought down and were forced to spend nights in the cold.
We were in the cold for a while before we moved to a two-roomed shack. We shared a toilet with five other families. Water was drawn from a communal tap outside,’ he said.
Okoth attended Olympic Primary School, where he scored 617 marks out of the possible 700 in KCPE. Olympic Primary is among the top-performing schools in the country and number one in Kibra constituency.
Ken later joined Starehe Boys Centre & School, where he passed with flying colors. During an interview with Daily Nation, he said,
It was at Starehe where I used a bed for the first time in my life, graduating from shared mats or mattresses spread on the floor. Oh, what a change it was for me.
During his high school days, he opted to stay in school over the holidays than go home.
Prior to secondary school, I had not known a three-meal diet. Eating from the trash bins was just normal. I seldom went back home, choosing instead to remain at school studying and working.
He was offered a scholarship at St. Lawrence University in New York, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Writing, German, and European Studies in 2001.
In 2005, Ken earned his Master of Arts Degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington DC where he deepened his understanding of diplomacy and international relations.
He studied Forced Migration and Refugee Studies at University of Oxford.
He also studied Laws, migrant and statelessness at Tilburg University
He later attended Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz as well.
According to his Facebook profile Okoth worked at various places before joining politics.
He worked at St. Lawrence University and Georgetown University where he schooled.
Ken also worked at The Potomac School and Friends School of Baltimore in USA.
Before his political life, Ken was a watchman at the Maendeleo ya Wanawake House premises and used to sell newspapers.
I went to The Nation newspapers where I had done voluntary work in the past and they allowed me to sell newspapers…. I delivered The East African every Monday in offices along Ngong Road all the way to Karen,’ Okoth said.
The Goethe Institute had meanwhile allowed me to study German almost for free. In return, I at times doubled up as a watchman at their Maendeleo ya Wanawake House premises.
4. Member of Parliament
He was elected the member of Kibra constituency in 2013. SInce then, Okoth became a darling to many and mingled with all his constituent. Many have eulogized him as a man who treated everyone equally.
He was voted the best performing MP severally. He was an active politician until his death
Okoth brought a great change in Kibra. From his keen interest in education to improving healthcare facilities to empowering women and the youth, he won the hearts.
Two years ago he built Mbagathi High school in his constituency which was officially opened in September 2017.
On July 3, he reshared a past post he shared before the school was completed. Check out the screenshot below
The shool’s library was to be named after media personality Jeff Koinange.
But after Ken passed on, Jeff has said he will instead name it after him.
We were just about to LAUNCH the “Jeff Koinange LIBRARY ” at Mbagathi Girls in Kibra…In HONOR of Ken, I will rename it “KEN OKOTH LIBRARY”…Rest in Peace Bro..Till we MEET,’ Koinange posted.
He ensured most of the schools in his constituency got buses.
6. Supported youth and talents
Okoth was an ardent Gor Mahia supporter and even attended some of their matches. He supported talents in his constituency and early this month he attended Kibra Music Festival.
Ken Okth was married to one wife identified as Monica. The couple had no child yet. His last message to his friends about his wife read,
GUYS, TAKE CARE OF YOUR WIVES. YOU MAY HAVE A LOT OF MONEY FOR TREATMENT BUT NOTHING EQUALS A WOMAN WHO STANDS BY YOU IN YOUR MOMENT OF ILLNESS.
Okoth was diagnosed with colorectal cancer stage 4 in 2017 and has been on treatment for several months in and out of the county.