This reads like a soap opera. There is a fresh controversy brewing that is currently rocking Ken Okoth’s family as a second ‘wife’ emerged with his five-year-old son.
The Star has established that the woman, a Jubilee-nominated MCA, approached Okoth’s family on Tuesday evening and demanded that her son be recognised before his ‘father’ is interred.
The family was meeting on Tuesday at Silver Springs Hotel along Vallely Road with the ODM leadership to give funeral details.
The son, whose pictures with Okoth have been shared online, is well known among Okoth’s close circle and family members.
The MP’s European widow, Monica, is said to have got wind of the boy and opposed the idea of publicly recognising him. She and Okoth had no biological children but adopted three.
The widow is said to have protested attempts to have him mentioned in the MP’s funeral advertisement.
The advert was to be published in Wednesday’s dailies, but the push and pull on whether the child should be listed delayed the plan.
The details of the ‘second family’ emerged as the controversy persisted over whether the lawmaker’s remains will be cremated or buried.
Opposition chief Raila Odinga on Wednesday chaired a crisis meeting with the family but only told the press, “The body will be handled in the same way as that of Kenneth Matiba.”
A close Okoth confidant, who requested anonymity, told the Star of the existence of the ‘second’ family and how the MP never shied from making it known that he is the father of the boy.
The source, who accompanied Okoth to Tetu, Nyeri county, to meet the woman’s parents, said the existence of the boy was an open secret known to both Okoth’s and the woman’s parents.
“Both the paternal and maternal grandparents have met the child and have lived with him for days. Ken loved the son very much and there is nothing in question,” the MP’s confidant said.
Okoth and his secret lover are said to have met in 2011 while the woman was working as a nurse at the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, before she was nominated to the county assembly during the 2017 General Election.
At one time, the MP is said to have stayed together with the woman at a house along Ngong Road in Nairobi.
The revelations came just hours after Okoth’s mother Angelina Ajwang’ warned that her son did not father any child outside of her marriage with Monica.
“Ken did not sire any child. I know many women will come out to claim they have at least a child with Ken,” she told a local television station on Tuesday.
But the Star is in possession of an exclusive picture of Angelina with the five-year-old son at her Kibra home. Close family friends confirmed that the child is a regular visitor to her home.
In the picture, Angelina is seen in a jovial mood showing her ‘grandson’ a story in a newspaper as the child kneels on the chair and looks on.
The source — who has been part of all funeral arrangement meetings — dismissed Angelina’s claim alleging she might have been coerced into making the statement.
“We are not in any way disputing whether the child will be given anything. What we want is that the family should not push this child into the background as if Ken never left any child. Let it be known that Ken left a son whom he loved very much,” he said.
He disclosed that the late MP included the child in his will and the family should respect his wishes.
“Ken has put that in the will. Ken has a will, and as I told you, I am Ken’s confidant. I am privy to the will. And the child is catered for in that will,” he added.
Another family source corroborated to the Star that Okoth had been taking care of the child’s upkeep, including paying for his school fees at a high-end school in Nairobi.
The MCA, who has the support of a number of Okoth’s kinsmen, has been blocked from burial preparations, which close family members describe as ‘unfortunate’.
On Tuesday, Taveta MP Naomi Shaban played a mediator role between Monica and the MCA, a process that ran late into the night.
Shaban was first seen meeting Monica for more than an hour before having a session with the MCA, who was accompanied to the meeting venue by her colleagues from the assembly.
The Star could not establish whether Shaban’s intervention led to any truce. A programme released by the funeral committee indicates there will be a funeral service at Moi Girls Secondary School in Kibra, the same school he visited in his last function after arriving from France.
On Wednesday, there was a public viewing at Lee Funeral Home and community memorial service at Starehe Boys Centre and School.
On Thursday, the human rights sector will hold another memorial service at the University of Nairobi from 2pm to 6 pm.
The body will then be flown to Kabondo, Homa Bay county, where there will be another funeral service at Got Rateng’ ground in Kabondo Kasipul constituency.
The proposal to have the remains of the late MP cremated has split the family, with Okoth’s mother threatening not to accompany the body back to Nairobi. Monica and one of the MP’s brothers support cremation, claiming Okoth told them he wanted to be cremated.