Joyce Laboso: Iron lady who conquered male dominated Rift politics

Laboso had been admitted at the facility's ICU last week since she arrived from India.

In Summary

• Laboso left for the UK on May 29th to seek treatment for what was later revealed to be colon cancer. 

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso.
Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso.
Image: FILE

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso is dead.

She died at the Nairobi Hopsital after battling cancer.

Laboso had been admitted at the facility's ICU last week since she arrived from India where she was receiving treatment.

An iron lady, she  became the first female governor of Bomet after winning a tough battle against Isaac Rutto in 2017.

She subdued her detractors who tried to use her marriage to a man from a different region to sabotage her governor bid.

Laboso was married in Nyanza and some of her detractors said she did not deserve to become a Rift Valley governor because she "belonged" to another region after getting married.

Joyce Cherono Laboso was born on November 25, 1960.

She plunged into politics after succeeding her younger sister Lorna as Sotik MP.

Lorna died in a plane crash on June 10, 2008 along with Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones. Lorna was at the time the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs.


Laboso attended Kaplong and Molo Primary Schools before joining Kaplong Girls Secondary School for her A level education before proceeding to Kenya High School for her O levels.

Between 1980 and 1983, Laboso undertook a Bachelor of Arts degree at Kenyatta University before undertaking her Postgraduate diploma in French at the University of Paul Valery in France.

Between 1985 and 1989, Laboso taught at Kipsigis girls’ high school.

In 1989, Laboso joined UK’s University of Reading for a Masters degree in teaching English as a foreign language.

In 1990, Laboso joined Egerton University as an assistant lecturer and left in 2002, having risen to the post of dean of students. In 2003, Laboso left for UK to become a special needs lecturer at Farrow House Education Center.

During that period until 2006, Laboso studied for her PhD in gender and language education at UK’s University of Hull.

In 2007, Laboso returned to Egerton University where she was employed as the Coordinator of communication, media, library and information studies programmes.


During her political career that spans a decade, Laboso held a number of political positions prior to being elected second governor of Bomet at the 2017 polls upon defeating incumbent Isaac Ruto.

Immediately after the 2013 elections, Laboso was elected Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, a position she held until she vied for Bomet governor seat.

Laboso prioritised development of roads, education, water and electricity within her constituency during her two terms as MP.

Between 2008 and 2013, Laboso sat on five parliamentary committees: Education, Women Parliamentary Association, House Business Committee, Committee on Implementation and Liaison Committee.


Laboso left for the UK on May 29 to seek treatment for what was later revealed to be colon cancer. She spent 27 days at the Royal Marden Foundation Trust Hospital until June 25 when she was transferred to another hospital in India for further treatment.

On July 14, Laboso returned to Kenya after 46 days abroad.  She continued receiving her treatment at Nairobi Hospital until her demise.

Laboso leaves behind a husband and three sons. She was 58 years old.