Hon. Ken Okoth - A man of the people , by the people , for the people.
2015 was a remarkable year for justice advocates all over the world. In Kenya, the timing of national discussions around the adoption of the draft Legal Aid bill coincided with the global discussions of including justice in the post 2015- Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
Hon. Ken Okoth , through the Parliamentary Human Rights Caucus worked tirelessly with Civil Society Organisations ( CSO’s) and network members to push for the successful adoption of the Legal Aid Act , 2016. The plan was to illustrate Kenya’s commitment towards implementing the SDG’s with focus on Goal 16 which includes access to justice for all.
The night before the Legal Aid Bill was tabled in parliament, Hon. Ken Okoth worked overnight with CSO’s and network members to make changes on the document, article by article. This was to ensure that when the Bill was presented in parliament, few technicalities would be raised.
On the day the Legal Aid Bill was presented in parliament by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, Hon. Ken Okoth was present. As the deliberations went on, Hon. Ken Okoth sent text messages to us on the concerns raised and we were in turn working to make the changes as the proceedings went on. Very few Members of Parliament will work in this way with Civil Society. It was a truly a rewarding and unique engagement.
The Legal Aid Act is a product of hard work and commitment of numerous actors. Hon. Ken Okoth added the last needed push to see it through and for this we say Asante Sana. Hon. Ken Okoth continued to put the Attorney General to task over financing the Legal Aid Act. His heart was with the people, he deeply understood the importance of legal empowerment. He just got it.
In our world, Hon, Ken Okoth is known as the Kenyan SDG champion. Globally, he has spoken at many events supporting SDG 16. Locally, had it not been for him, parliament would not have a robust engagement with the SDG’s. Hon. Ken Okoth simply knew how to get things done.
What a loss. An absolute tragedy. We already miss his strategic guidance and visionary leadership.
Even as we mourn Hon.Ken Okoth, we celebrate his commitment to promoting access to justice for all. We stand tall on the foundation Hon. Ken Okoth built for the movement and we continue with the global agenda of justice. Inspired truly by the exemplary work of this individual.
Rest in Power Hon. Ken OKoth.