Family and friends are still coming to terms with the sudden death of Baringo Deputy Governor Charles Kipng’ok just three weeks after his election.
Kipng’ok died on Wednesday evening at JKIA in Nairobi as he prepared to board a flight to Mombasa.
He was elected alongside his boss Benjamin Cheboi.
The deputy governor is said to have developed breathing difficulties at around 7pm. He was pronounced dead by the medical personnel before the plane took off, reports indicated.
Back in his Kirobon village, residents described Kipng’ok as a generous, humble and visionary leader.
His mother, Tungo Kipng’ok, was inconsolable. “This news has really shocked me. I don’t even know what to say. I have lost my great son.”
The deceased’s wife Lornah Kipng’ok said her husband was fine when he left home. “That is why I did not understand it when I was told he collapsed and died. This news is very shocking,” said Lornah.
According to the family, Kipng’ok did not show any signs of illness and only learnt of his death through the media.
To the villagers, Kipng’ok was one of their gallant sons who sacrificed to support many of them. They said they had hoped that Kipng’ok, in his new position as deputy governor, would uplift their living standards and improve government services in the village.
“One thing that stood out was his generosity. He has paid school fees for many poor children in this village. He was always solving problems. He was a workaholic and Baringo will really miss his services,” said Caroline Onchoka, a neighbour.
Another family member, David Tarus, said: “His death was too sudden. He was not sick and has always been healthy.”
“Before he plunged into politics, he informed all of us and as a family, we were happy with his decision. We had a lot of expectations, not just his family, but the entire community as well. He was a performer,” said Tarus.
According to his family, Kipng’ok and Cheboi had planned to visit all public hospitals, within the first 21 days of their administration, to take stock of what ails them and work out a plan to improve the services they offer.