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Tribute-Hon. Ken Okoth (1978-2019)

For Immediate Release                                                                                          


A Warrior has rested, a true defender and fighter for the rights of the marginalized. He carried Kibra Constituency in his soul, the People of Kenya in his heart as is seen in the various human rights initiatives he engaged himself with. Hon. Ken Okoth was one of the founders and front runners on the Kenya Parliamentary Human Rights Association (KEPHRA), a formation of a few human rights defenders who took their passion to the National Assembly in a bid to strengthen the enjoyment of human rights in Kenya through influencing human rights laws and policies.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights can attest to his spirit and passion for human rights, and thus we mourn a friend and a colleague who believed in constitutionalism and empowering the children and youth of Kibra, his second home. As a Commission, we remember him fondly for the passion and input which contributed to the development and enactment of the IDP Act in 2012. Human rights are indivisible and he believed that the state had an obligation to ensure internally displaced persons enjoyed human rights.

Additionally, Hon Ken Okoth was our champion before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in the National Assembly. He believed that the realization of the Bill of Rights in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Kenya cannot be without proper resourcing of institutions charged with monitoring human rights in the country.

Hon. Okoth played a key role in the advocacy and enactment of key legislations that were a milestone in the protection and promotion of human rights in Kenya. Most notably, Hon. Ken in the most selfless manner and in his quest for protecting the poor and vulnerable in the society, from extra judicial killings and torture was in the frontline in ensuring the Prevention Of Torture Act (POTA) and the Coroners Act were enacted in Parliament. He championed for the Legal Aid Act in order to ensure access to justice for the poor in society.

The Commission celebrates Hon. Ken for fearlessly defending the rights of the vulnerable in regional and international platforms and ensuring the State is compliant in its obligations. He was particularly instrumental in the advocacy of the Access to Information Act through supporting the visit to Kenya by the Africa Special Rapporteur on access to information and was critical to the subsequent enactment of this law.

He was a champion for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with a keen interest in ensuring the country aligns its development agenda to goals that empower the livelihoods of Kenyans. In remaining true to the SGD vision, Ken was the Chair of the Parliamentary Caucus on SDGs and on many occasions would attend meetings in Geneva where the Commission was represented to ensure that Kenya emulates best international practice.

In conclusion, we mourn the loss of a champion, but celebrate his spirit and the gains he made in the very few years the Lord gave him in public service. To the people of Kibra, you have lost a great man whose fruits your children will live to tell. Hon. Okoth may be departed physically, but his tenets remain. Guard those tenets by continuously holding to account your future leadership.


Ms. Kagwiria Mbogori, Chairperson

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Categories: Press Statements
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