5 prominent Kenyans whose deaths shook the country in 2019

1. Ken Okoth

Prominent Kenyans whose deaths shook the country in 2019

On July 26, Kenyans were shocked to learn of the demise of Kibra MP Ken Okoth. The beloved parliamentarian battled colorectal cancer. This was after making his first public appearance since returning from France where he had been undergoing treatment.

He attended the Kibra Music Fest at Moi Girls School, Nairobi, accompanied by other County leaders.

During his speech, Okoth hailed Kenyans for praying for him during his time in France and vowed to overcome the disease in the long run.

Okoth was only 41 when he passed on.

2. Joyce Laboso

Two days after Okoth's death Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso also succumbed to cancer while undergoing treatment in Nairobi. Laboso had sought treatment in the United Kingdom and India.

Dr Laboso trounced governor Isaac Ruto to become one of three women elected governors in 2017, four and a half years after devolution was introduced.

Before she was elected governor, Dr Laboso served as the Sotik MP, having been elected following the death of her younger sister Lorna Laboso

3. DeMathew

In August, the death of famous Benga musician John Ng'ang'a alias De Mathew came as a shock to many. Police released a statement confirming that he had died from a fatal car crash.

On the fateful day, DeMathew had attended a fundraiser where he also performed. His fans shared videos of his last performance on social media. De'Mathew recorded more than 50 albums and had sung over 300 songs.

Until his demise, DeMathew was the chairperson of the Tamco Sacco that aims to uplift the welfare of musicians.

"We want to come together and join a Sacco to pool resources together so that when we die, our families do not resort to harambees to give us a decent send-off," he said.

4. Bob Collymore

On July 1 the country was shaken by the death of Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore. According to a statement from the company, the long-serving CEO died at his home.

President Uhuru Kenyatta led other leaders and Kenyans with sending their condolence messages to his family and friends.

During an interview, Bob had narrated how his cancer began with a misdiagnosis in 2017 but revealed that he was feeling better and he hoped for a full recovery.

The Guyanese-born British businessman joined Safaricom in 2010 and had been praised for driving Safaricom innovative mobile payment system, M-Pesa.

5. Karanja Kabage

On July 6 Kenyans learnt of the death of lawyer and businessman Karanja Kabage. A post-mortem revealed that Mr Kabage died of cardiac arrest.

Kabage died on Friday along Southern by-pass near Kibera, Nairobi as he drove towards Karen direction at about 10pm. Witnesses told police that his vehicle veered off the road.

Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai said that Kabage asked a taxi driver who stopped at the scene to take him to the Nairobi hospital, where he arrived unconscious.

Before his death, Karanja served in various capacities in the business sector. He was a board member of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, National Social Security Fund, Labour Advisory Board and Energy Regulatory Authority Commission among others.

He also served as a director at African Reinsurance Corporation and First Reinsurance Brokers Limited. In 2017, he joined the race for the Nakuru Senate seat.


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