He explained that he chose to reveal it so that the man's son would not be excluded from the burial process — and in the hopes that the man's family could accept the child

By Rachel DeSantis
August 19, 2019 06:37 PM
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko
YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty

A Kenyan governor is making waves after he revealed at the funeral for a fellow politician that the other man had fathered a 5-year-old son out of wedlock, according to multiple news outlets.

CNN reports that Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko made the announcement earlier this month at the funeral for Ken Okoth, a member of the Kenyan parliament who died of cancer at 41.

As Sonko, 44, spoke during a televised memorial service for Okoth, he reportedly said that Okoth had fathered a child amid an affair with a woman nominated for Nairobi’s county assembly.

“Ken had a son with one of the nominated Nairobi MCAs,” he told the crowd, according to CNN. “The two lovebirds did not hide the fact that they shared a son, as demonstrated by pictures and various documented correspondence.”

Sonko continued to speak about Okoth’s affair and explained that he chose to reveal it so that the son would not be excluded from the burial process — and in the hopes that Okoth’s family could accept the child.

Okoth’s family, including his wife with whom he had no children, was in attendance, according to CNN

The other woman in question, Anne Thumbi, confirmed to the Kenyan newspaper The Standard that she and Okoth did have a son together. She called the late politician a “good man” who had a positive outlook on life and whose final request to her was to “take care of our son.”

“He always asked how Jayden was doing in school and whenever he could, he would check on his progress with the teachers,” she said.

The paper reports that Thumbi obtained a court order to block Okoth’s cremation or burial until Jayden was recognized as his son and included in the funeral.

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Sonko’s decision to publicly air his late friend’s personal affairs was met with criticism, as topics such as infidelity are seen as taboo in Kenya’s “deeply religious and conservative society,” CNN reports.

The governor also made moves to broaden the discussion beyond Okoth.

Shortly after the memorial, Sonko listed a series of phone numbers on Facebook and encouraged women who had been impregnated by politicians to call and provide names and photographic evidence so he could expose them, according to CNN.

Sonko later wrote Facebook that a number of women had called the hotlines, and he claimed that 80 prominent politicians and businessmen had been accused of fathering children out of wedlock and “refus[ing] to take responsibilities of their babies.”

Though he did not provide further evidence or information, Sonko wrote that he hoped to publish the men’s names, as well as photo, audio and video corroboration, in newspapers and on social media.

“We are in the final process of hiring advocates for all the affected victims so that those implicated can be compelled by the courts to take DNA tests,” he wrote.

MP Millie Odhiambo called his funeral revelations a publicity stunt.

“Your unnecessary drama spiraled a behind-the-scenes series of events that resulted in Okoth’s body not being taken to Kabondo,” she wrote on Facebook, according to The Standard.

Sonko did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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