Revealed: Why family went against Ken Okoth’s final wish before his death
The immediate former Kibra MP Ken Okoth had made it clear to his doctors, family and close friends that he did not wish to be placed on life support in the event that his condition deteriorated.
But according to close friends, doctors decided to put him on life support after multiple organ failure on Thursday night.
Come Friday afternoon, the doctors were forced to switch off the machine.
A day before his death, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), under the chairmanship of National Assembly Justin Muturi, had met at County Hall, which houses their secretariat, to discuss his condition and the skyrocketing medical bill.
But little did the commission know that the second-term Kibra MP was fast losing the battle and had only a few hours to live.
Mr Okoth succumbed to colorectal cancer at 4pm at the Nairobi Hospital where he had been rushed to after his condition worsened.
He was taken to the hospital at around 5pm on Thursday and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Addressing the media, his brother Imran Okoth said the MP’s condition deteriorated at 8pm on Thursday forcing doctors to place him on the life support machine against his wishes.
“We want to inform the nation, the people of Kibra, that the leader they trust, a servant leader, Honourable Ken Okoth, is no more. He passed on a while ago,” Mr Imran said.
The legislator had just recently returned to the country from Paris, France, where he had spent months battling the disease, Mr Imran added.
He said the MP had been on-and-off medication and despite remaining optimistic that he would regain his health, he did not make it.
“The body has been transferred to the Lee Funeral Home and we want to request the nation and the general public to let the family retreat and make few arrangements here and there, so we will need some privacy,” he said.
The news threw Kibra constituency into mourning with a handful of his supporters thronging the hospital to mourn their departed leader.
“He has left a big gap in Kibra,” said Mr Ali Noor Ibrahim, a resident.
According to the family, funeral arrangements will start on Saturday.
Mr Muturi said although Mr Okoth had exhausted his medical cover, Parliament was ready to pool resources to ensure he got the required medication.
But as fate would have it, he would not manage to live another day.
On Friday, a distraught Mr Muturi said it was shocking and saddening to lose “such a young, vibrant and eloquent leader and debater at a time Parliament needed him most.”
According to the Speaker, Mr Okoth distinguished himself as an unwavering defender of human rights.
“He was a very amiable and friendly young man, who never picked quarrels with anyone, including his colleagues inside or outside Parliament. He discharged his duties with precision and professionalism.”
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka described Mr Okoth as a focused MP.
“I met him in Paris, France, and despite his condition, he looked forward to coming back to serve his people. His work in a few years at the helm of the constituency cannot go unnoticed. The poor in Kibra, especially the students, have seen his efforts. It’s a big loss for them,” Mr Lusaka said.
National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale said his demise is a great loss to Parliament.
“He was a committed leader who knew his responsibilities in the House, committees, his constituency, church and the political rallies. We have lost a great mind that this country really needed, especially in the education sector, going by what he has done in his backyard,” Mr Duale said.
According to Minority leader John Mbadi, Mr Okoth never let down his people. “He served his party and the Kibra people with humility and dedication. He was averse to drama and was always in the chamber to push a selfless agenda,” Mr Mbadi said.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, who was among the last people to appear in public with the late MP, said his demise is a big loss not only to his family and friends, but the country.
Mr Sakaja, who is the chairman of the Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association (KYPA), said the late Okoth served as KYPA’s first treasurer.
“The executive committee of KYPA regrets with profound grief the passing on of its beloved member and an outstanding son of the people of Kenya. He was a magnificent orator, with an admirable fighting and enduring spirit,” Mr Sakaja said.
MPs Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay Woman Representative), Simba Arati (Dagoretti North), Godfrey Osotsi (nominated) and Naisula Lesuuda (Samburu West) equally paid a glowing tribute to their fallen colleague.
Mr Ichung’wah described him as an exceptional leader out to serve his people with energy and dedication.
“We shall all remember Honourable Ken Okoth as a very focused leader who had a transformative agenda for his constituency and worked in a very committed and dedicated manner to change the lives of his people. He was an eloquent legislator in the House,” Mr Ichung’wah said.
Mr Mohamed described him as a great leader, who did very well inside and outside Parliament.
“He was the initiator of the parliamentary caucus Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Mr Mohamed said.
Ms Wanga added: “He was a brilliant young man committed to fault to his work. A great friend indeed.”