Migori Senator Ben Okello succumbs to cancer

by David Karani

Migori Senator Ben Oluoch Okello has died after a long battle with throat cancer.

According to his nephew and family spokesman, Mark Okundi, the ex-Ramogi FM presenter died a few minutes past midnight on June 19.

Popularly known as BOO, the senator was recuperating at MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi after returning from a month long stay in India. He worked at KBC before moving to Royal Media’s Ramogi FM.

He replaced Dr Wilfred Machage on an ODM ticket after his predecessor chose to vie for the Kuria West parliamentary seat. He won the seat with 68,194 votes while his closest opponent Gordon Odhiambo Ogola came in a distant second with 28,696.

While at the Senate, he served in various Senate Committees including— the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Committee on Health; and Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration.

The senator’s body has since been moved to Lee Funeral Home.

Among the first people to offer their condolence message was the ODM leader Raila Odinga.

“Ben was a strong man who battled cancer with bravery. He remained cool despite the throat cancer pain,” Mr Odinga told Ramogi FM, the station at which Mr Okello once worked after leaving Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).

“He was focused and one who loved his community with a firm belief in the welfare of electorate. ODM has lost a key member who had yet to exploit his potential.”

Also to eulogize the senator was President Uhuru Kenyatta who termed Okello as a true patriot who served the country with commitment and devotion.

In his message of condolence to the family and Migori County residents, President Kenyatta said it is unfortunate that the country has lost a great leader of our time.

The President said throughout his career as a journalist before joining politics, the late Senator Okello propagated messages of peace, love and unity and he never shied from standing for what was right for the country.

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