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Tribute: Sometimes it is not about the longevity of life but the depth of life

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8th August 2019

I heard the news on one forlorn Friday evening, surreal it sounded. The news was confirmed to me as I drove past the Lee Funeral Home and saw a lady reporter filing in a story in the early hours of the night at the gates of the high end funeral home. Mheshimiwa as we refer to people of such high calibre in our society had died. My “M.P. wa nguvu” as I fondly referred to him had the curtain of life closed on him.

He was born a year after me, relatively youthful- yet the number of lives that he has touched in a positive way are beyond what many people older than him will ever boast of inspiring. Born Kenneth Odhiambo Okoth in the largest slum in Kenya; Kibera, the late M.P. is testimony to the fact that it i not where you come from that matters rather it is where you are heading to that matters the more.

I did not have the privilege of meeting my immediate MP in person neither did I even get to interact with him online, yet as his constituent the memory of our neighbourhood leaders mobilizing us to go and have him nominated as early as the recent ODM primaries will forever remain etched in my mind and who would not have if you had “MP wa nguvu” as your MP.

Because of our late M.P’s astute leadership Kibra Constituency in Nairobi County in my beloved country Kenya has time and time again won the award for “The Best Managed Constituency Fund”. Our MP had a passion for the youth and education and the Mbagathi High School that stands today is a testament of this passion. The school was built from scratch from the Constituency Development Fund. From infrastructure to health to availing school fees to needy children our MP ensured that all the touch points of development in our constituency were well catered for.

I remember the first election that I had the privilege of voting for him, I really did not know much of him but was giving him a chance because of the beliefs that his constituency manifesto stood for and for his youthful leadership that promised a breath of fresh air. And deliver he did. Now winning the first election as an M.P. is commendable but winning it a second time round unanimously is proof of the confidence that your constituents have in you and vote for him a second we did, as we braved ourselves for the chaotic party primaries and with great zeal and enthusiasm into the General Election, celebrate we did when he won a second time round.

The Late Hon. Kenneth Odhiambo Okoth’s story is one of hope, intellectual brilliance, determination, focus and resilience.

You see “MP wangu wa nguvu” was born into abject poverty but went on to break away from the shackles through sheer hard work and focus, going on to excel academically and professionally and in his own way determined to pave a way for many of his constituents bound by the same shackle of his early life of poverty and ignorance that hungered for knowledge. He reminds us all that “we
can be anybody we want to be.”

As the sand in the hour glass so are the days of our lives, to some are granted bigger glasses to others smaller glasses. By human and leadership standards Hon. Kenneth Odhiambo Okoth represented youth, he represented hope for the East African economy that I call home; Kenya. If we could we would bargain with the Almighty to will us more time with him, we surely would.

Mheshimiwa you set the bar so high you. Another one of the 70’s babies has “lefted” this realm. A candle that burned so brightly for the time it did showing us the way – that it is not about the longevity of life but about the depth of ones life. Shine on in the next realm “MP wangu wa nguvu”.

As Wacha niKwambie blog, Kenya our heartfelt condolences to the late Hon. Ken Okoth’s wife Monica Okoth, his wider family, the people of Kibra Constituency, Nairobi County and the people of Kenya at large. Rest in peace comrade; because of your life hopes spring eternal for servant leadership in our beloved country Kenya.

©
Kwambie Nyambane,
August 2019

Footnote
Hon. Kenneth Odhiambo Okoth was born in 1978 in Kibra’s Kisumu Dogo in what was known as Nairobi Province then. In 2018 he was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer. He passed on in the late afternoon hours of Friday 26 th July 2019. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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