OPINION: Imran Okoth And the Limits of Death

4 mins read

Ken Okoth, the US-educated former Kibra MP nepotically put his half-brother, Imran Okoth as the Manager Kibra Constituency as his health took a bad turn.

For years, Imran together with Ken Okoth’s white wife managed the constituency with the indisposed brother showing up once in a while to inspect that which had been decided. Here, the verdict was that Imran had diligently and efficiently steered the delinquent constituency.

Okoth did not recover and Imran substantively took over, as MP, in spite of ODM Party machinations to install Mwalimu Peter Orero, a veteran city educationist and sports development expert under whose arm many of Kenya’s international footballers rose.

Signs of turmoil started showing in parliament, where Imran sewed his mouth with a nylon rope. Imran never speaks in parliament. The late Ken Okoth was a floor debater, and one whose imposing baritone voice and Midwestern Ohio accent made him a good speaker to listen to, in the realm of the former Vice President Kijana Wamalwa. But Imran, educated in average secondary schools in Kenya, was never going to fit in Ken’s globally credentialed world.

Because Ken spoke, and eloquently so, he made Kibra a going concern of the nation, and the world. Before Ken was Raila Odinga, who had adopted the constituency from a long line of repugnant KANU politicians, and made the place a notorious eyesore to humanity. Kibera became the itching boil in the body politic, and its upgrade became a national prerogative.

Ken Okoth and Raila Odinga spoke. They made necessary noise about Kibra, or Kibera, semantics aside.

Ken had some other things going. He could use his networks across the world to bring more to Kibera. He educated many Kibra children this way, hence supplementing his inadequate CDF. Imran, a local man, had few friends outside his immediate physical environment. In fact, most of his friends, like him, local men.

Ken’s rise from Kibera to Wesleyan was the kind of story uppity white Americans in the donor world loved. It appealed to their capitalistic instincts to support the social machinery. And Ken had one more tool. Whenever the white world doubted his honesty, he could prop his Caucasian wife to pledge her skin on Ken’s social causes. When he lived, it worked.

In Imran’s ascension to helm Kibera, the constituency has come to realize that Imran Okoth was, and never will be, the indefatigable Ken Okoth, or the omnipresent Raila Odinga. His abilities are limited, so are his devices, as has been demonstrated by his dependence, almost entirely, on CDF.

In another five months Kibra heads to the poll. This time, at least the people now know that Ken Okoth is gone forever and Imran is not Ken and death has its limits.

The next Kibra MP must be credentialed enough to run Kibera both as a donor concern, a national government initiative and, lastly, a CDF one. I do not see how Imran fits the bill.

Aliko Riaah is a guest writer for HiviPunde.

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