REVEALED: How Sonko, Raila brokered truce on Ken Okoth’s burial in night meeting
Several night phone calls and the personal intervention of former premier Raila Odinga and Nairobi governor Mike Sonko is what it took to resolve the impasse over the final burial of Kibra MP Ken Okoth.
On Thursday, it all seemed that the late MP’s final send-off would be postponed for at least a week after a magistrate’s court issued an order stopping the funeral plans from proceeding as planned.
But since the die had already been cast, a decision had to be made quickly; either to let their dirty linen aired in public or amicably agree to solve the rising issues behind closed doors as a family.
The disputing parties, involving Okoth’s family led by his mother Angeline and wife Monica; and that of Nairobi County Assembly nominated MCA Anne Muthoni Thumbi, engaged in an overnight meeting that spread into Friday morning before a deal was brokered.
ODM party leader shepherded Okoth’s family while governor Sonko interceded for the MCA’s team as intense backdoor negotiations stretched throughout the night before a compromise was finally reached.
This was confirmed by lawyers Greg Karungu, Edwin Sifuna, Danstan Omari and Elkanah Mogaka representing, the late MP’s wife Monica, his mother Angeline and the Nairobi ward representative.
Mr Mogaka told the Nation that both Mr Odinga and Mr Sonko took it upon themselves to broker the truce and gave their commitment to ensure that the matter is settled amicably to enable the final rites to proceed.
He revealed that each team gathered separately over the night with only phone calls being the link between the two parties as each made a case for themselves and a middle ground sought to end the deadlock.
“Everyone sat the whole night separately but it was not until this morning that a deal was arrived at to enable us go and sign the consent in court,” said Mr Mogaka.
He stated that they expect to get the DNA results in 21 days’ timeline given by the court but until then, the child must witness the funeral plans of his late father.
“Both parties have engaged in midnight endless discussion with intervention from Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Sonko; the consent was premised on the fact that the issue in dispute is purely a family one,” said lawyer Omari.
The assertions were echoed by Mr Sifuna who confirmed that indeed there were such meetings where the parties agreed that the stalemate should be settled out of court.
“Each party sat down and compromised to strike a deal. There was no point of even the courts getting involved and even the outburst by Sonko as the family had no problem but just wanted to ascertain that the boy was Ken’s. All that is now water under the bridge and there is nothing to be wrangled over again,” said Sifuna.
From the consent presented before magistrate Grace Mmasi, the late legislator’s wife Monica and Ms Thumbi agreed that a DNA test be undertaken to confirm the paternity of Jayden Baraka Okoth, the latter’s son.
The two also agreed that five-year-old Jayden would be allowed to participate in the funeral arrangements.
The DNA samples were last evening collected at Lee Funeral Home with the pathologists from each party and the government’s Dr Johannsen Oduor being involved in taking them from the minor, Ms Anne and Mr Okoth’s body.
“The parties have agreed that it has been done professionally. We have also preserved some samples to block any chances of having to exhume the body in case of future dispute,” added Mr Omari. The Okoth’s family said they would be glad if he is laid to rest in peace hence called on the public to respect their privacy.