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Persons Of Interest: Dan “wuod Ruoth” Oketch


Growing up in the dusty plains of Kwoyo Kochia in Homabay County, all the jadala (village boy) wanted was an opportunity to sneak at night to enjoy the village discos but the thought of the public beating by his father who was a chief could not allow him to have a taste of village entertainment.

His first interaction with urban lifestyle was his view of the Nairobi skyscrapers from a bus window on his way to Mombasa where he had transferred to from Kuoyo Kochia High School to finish his secondary education.

We met at Pinecone Hotel in Kisumu and he talked to us about his life growing up, his love for Arsenal and Gormahia and a little about of his professional life.

POI: How was it growing up in the village?

DO: My dad was a chief and that meant we were brought up in a very strict environment. During my days lawo thum (attending the village disco) was something my peers were fond of but my father would not allow us to. You tried it and you got the whipping of your lifetime in public.

We lived about a kilometer away from school and every morning and evening my siblings and I made the journey barefoot in pursuit of education – sounds a bit cliché’ but that was our life in the village.

I lived in Kochia until midway through my high school. That is when I later transferred to Mombasa High where I completed my form four. I later joined JKUAT for my Undergraduate and Masters degree where I pursued my professional interest in procurement.

POI: How did you make your first 10,000 bob?

DO: I earned my first income as an untrained teacher, it was Ksh. 10,000. It felt like a million bob back then. I used most of it to buy my friends tea and mandazis. Maybe a little more to impress the ladies in Mombasa (my words not his).

POI: Let’s talk about your love for sports….

DO: I am a generally a sports fan. I was from a very tender age and I enjoy various forms of sports from athletics to rugby. Football is one of the biggest sports in the world – actually the biggest and I am a big fan of Gor Mahia, Harambee Stars and Arsenal.

I started attending Gor Mahia matches when the team was struggling to stay in the league. When we did not have fans going crazy about the team like we do today. We would just be a handful of people in the stands and I love the fact that we have brought back the glory to the team as fans.

I even met my wife in the stadium – that’s how passionate I am about Gor Mahia and why I believe that we have to steer the team forward as the fans because we are the biggest stake holders in the team.

POI: Are you running for Gor Mahia chairmanship to launch your political career?

DO: Too bad running for office in Gor Mahia is always seen as a political move. I am just tired of the mismanagement and lack of creativity in the team’s management.

I want to build a team that fans can be proud to be associated with. A team that does not lack resources or facilities. A small team like KCCA in Uganda have their own Stadium, why can’t Gor have the same.

We can survive in the league even without sponsorship if we streamline gate collections and merchandising. Most Kenyans are willing to buy official merchandises but we have allowed the sector to be controlled by counterfeit products.

This is why I am running and this is why I will win the chairmanship.

As POI we wish Dan Okech all the best in his endeavors. If you think you should be featured on this segment then drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde




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