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Family, friends and leaders recount memories with Laboso during memorial service

A portrait of Joyce Laboso at her memorial service on August 1, 2019.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – Joyce Laboso, the Bomet governor who succumbed to cancer on Monday was mourned as a visionary leader, who served her people with diligence during a memorial service held at All Saints Cathedral.

Family members and leaders present showered her with praises, recalling memories they shared, in what was a true celebration of her life.

“Joyce was an incredible woman who truly loved her job. Most of the time she was on her phone talking to Bomet people and sending MPESA to fundraising events. She was so dedicated in her career that we had to get used to calling her teacher, Madam Speaker, Mheshimiwa  Laboso and finally Her Excellency Governor as her career grew higher,” her widower Edwin Abonyo said amid laughter.

Having been married to a man from a different community and (Luo) culture and being persuaded to succeed her late sister Lorna Laboso as Sotik Member of Parliament, Deputy President William Ruto narrated how the deceased approached him to decide on the name she would use during her campaigns.

“Joyce was not into politics until she was persuaded to succeed her sister. It was not easy when she finally decided to consider it because I remember she came to me and told me. You know my husband is an Abonyo, what will I do? And I told her not to worry we will craft a way to make Mr. Abonyo understand that his name will not be used for now,” said Ruto.

Laboso is married to Abonyo who hails from Koru in Kisumu County but was elected governor in her maternal home in Bomet, in a rare scenario.

“I want to confirm here that Joyce had a superhuman being for a husband that even after not using his name. He supported her political career until the very end. God bless you Edwin,” Ruto said.

Laboso’s best friend who only identified herself as Jane described her as the most loyal person who trusted and respected her husband even when they were not together.

“We have shared so many secrets with Joyce and I am not about to share any of that with you. Joyce was a faithful friend and I remember when we went to the restaurants after she started dating Edwin, we would look away from other men because Joyce did not want any other man to spot her. She loved her husband from when they started dating until her last day on earth,” she said.

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The service was attended by several governors, Cabinet Secretaries, MPs, Senators among others.

After the memorial service, Laboso’s body was airlifted to Sotik for another memorial service set for Friday ahead of Saturday burial in Fort Ternan, Kisumu County.

State House has confirmed that President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend the service.

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