Kibra's MP will have big shoes to fill, say residents

Okoth served as the Member of Parliament for Kibra Constituency from 2013 to July 2019 when he died from complications caused by colorectal cancer.

In Summary

• Former MP Ken Okoth is revered for his efforts to face-lift the image of Kibera largely comprised of over-crowed shanty paraded as the face of Kenyan poverty in many reports.

• The tough job now awaits the incoming Member of Parliament who will be tasked with the job to fill the big shoes Okoth left behind.

As the dust around the Kibra Constituency by-election settles, focus now shifts to the man who will carry the day to represent the area in parliament.

Former MP Ken Okoth is revered for his efforts to face-lift the image of Kibera largely comprised of over-crowed shanties paraded as the face of Kenyan poverty in many reports.

Okoth served as the Member of Parliament for Kibra Constituency from 2013 to July 2019 when he died from complications caused by colorectal cancer.

He is credited for creating his contribution to support education in Kibra.

In his efforts, the MP used almost all of the allocation in the CDF kitty to allocate scholarships to support children from poor families in his constituency, building classes and schools.

Okoth started a secondary wing in most primary schools and gave scholarships to the needy families.

On Thursday, Kibra voters trooped to polling stations to elect their MP in a by-election that has witnessed intense campaigns.

The tough job now awaits the incoming Member of Parliament who will be tasked with the job of filling the big shoes Okoth left behind.

Bernes, a 25 year-old graduate from Ashesi University in Ghana and a resident of Kibera, yesterday said Okoth's work resonated with her.

Her worry though is that a project she planned to work on with the former MP could now hit a snag.

"I have a project to erect a library at Maili Saba which is where I grew up, the project still remains alive and my hope is to have an incoming MP who shares the same vision with Okoth so that we can move forward," Bernes said.

Beryl Atieno who hails from Sarangombe ward says she wishes to see a leader who will unite all the different faces in Kibra regardless of tribe.

Atieno, who is a mother of four, named her last born after Okoth.

She said the former MP was admirable and took a great leap in improving Kibera from the shackles of poverty by investing in education and is something they are keen to find in the incoming legislator.

"First we are here to fill the vacancy created in representing us after the death of Okoth. We also want a leader who will work just like Ken Okoth. Create empowerment programmes for women, support education among others," Atieno told the Star yesterday.

Gedion Ochieng, also a resident of Kibra, praised the former MP as a pacesetter who the incoming legislator need to look up to in executing his mandate.