Ben Oluoch Okello: Veteran journalist turned politician passes on

Migori Senator Ben Oluoch Okello is dead. The veteran journalist who worked for several radio stations before joining politics passed on at Nairobi’s MP Shah Hospital shortly past midnight after long battle with throat cancer.

Born in 1963 in Kanyimach village in Rongo sub-county Migori County, BOO, Wuon Aliwa or Okew gi Arende, as he was popularly known among his listeners became a darling to the Luo community  with his breakfast show dubbed Kogwen gi Ben Oluoch Okello (Dawn time with BOO) at Royal Media Services’ Ramogi FM.

The show that began at 5am to 10 am had tailored segments that captured all the social economic and political aspects of the Luo culture.

As a devoted christian and church member of Kanyimach SDA church in Rongo, he always dedicate the first segment that lasted between 5am-6am for playing praise and worship songs and reciting bible verses. To close the segment, he would award one listener with a bible daily.

 He would then indulge in debates on Luo nation developments and touch abit on Kenyan football where he mostly talked about Gor Mahia FC (a team that is mostly associated with the duo community.)

From 8am to 9am, Okello led debate on topical issues, ranging from politics and education to agriculture and health, especially how to help fight HIV Aids, among others in his second segment. 

These, coupled with his guests (who imparted expert opinion to his show), he won the hearts and ears of many a listener that many felt heartbroken when he quit the microphone to join politics.

Okello started his career at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation( Luo Service) where he worked for many years before joining Radio Lake Victoria, a Kisumu-based Luo vernacular station. When Royal media started its Luo station, Ramogi FM in 2005, Okello shifted camp and joined the media house where he served with brilliance until last year when he joined politics.

In August 2017, he was elected as the second senator of Migori on an ODM ticket replacing Dr Wilfred Machage, who ditched the senatorial race to vie  for Kuria West parliamentary seat.

Ben started his early education in Kanyimach Intermediate School before proceeding to Tarang’anya High School. He went to Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) in South B, Nairobi, where he studied journalism.

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After  working for a while, he advanced his education and pursued a bachelor’s degree at Moi University before proceeding for  masters degree in development communication at the University of Nairobi.

Senator Okello is survived by his wife Hellen Achieng’ and children.

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