Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday, August 1, revealed how he convinced the Late Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso to drop her husband’s name in a bid to successfully run for a parliamentary seat after the death of Laboso’s sister, Lorna, in June 2008.
The Late Lorna Laboso was the then-Sotik MP.
And her elder sister, Joyce, who was a university lecturer at the time, expressed interest in succeeding Lorna, saying she wanted to continue what her sister had begun.
“Joyce was persuaded to run for the then-vacant Sotik MP office,” Deputy President William Ruto said on Thursday during the memorial service of the Late Laboso at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.
“After heeding to the persuasion, [she approached me] as her bigger brother in the world of politics and told me: ‘There is a small matter I want to tell you before I finally make this decision [of plunging into the race to succeed Lorna]’,” said Ruto.
“Joyce went ahead to tell me: ‘You know my husband is Mr Abonyo [who hails from the Luo community]. That might become an issue, [that would lead to me losing in the race for Sotik MP]’. I told her: ‘Joyce, we will craft a message to deal with that. And, we will insist that you are the daughter of Mr Laboso. Please, ask Edwin not to mind if we do not put his name in our arrangement’.
“From that moment, I realised that Joyce had a super human being for a husband. He did not interfere with Joyce’s career. He, actually, supported Joyce as she pursued her political career. Even in the difficulties that Joyce went through, I want to tell Edwin, you became a true friend to your wife. You were always there,” said Ruto.
“Of course, Joyce went ahead to win the Sotik parliamentary seat and, thereafter, her [political career grew. Joyce eventually developed a rapport with many of us, and, progressively, she became part of our circle. She was a very resourceful person as said by people who worked with her.
“I want to attest that she was indeed resourceful, bright, and forthright. Whenever you asked her about her opinion, she would not beat about the bush. She would be forthright, candid and truthful.
-Skirt too short-
“Progressively, she became like my sister. I remember telling her: ‘In our community, you have to present yourself in a certain way for people to respect you’. And, whenever she put on a skirt that was not too long, I would tell her: ‘Joyce, this skirt is too short’. And, later, whenever I went to Bomet or she knew I was going there for a meeting, she would always show up carrying a leso. In fact, I have seen in one of the photos in this eulogy she has that leso.
“Joyce was special. Whenever she asked us to go to Bomet to support her in whatever way, it was difficult not to accept.
“I remember one of the newspapers said the other day that Ruto’s camp has lost. Maybe, it is good to correct that Joyce was too large to be fitted in any camp. She was a great woman leader in Kenya that traversed all shades of our politics.”
Joyce Laboso succumbed to ovarian cancer on Tuesday, July 29.
She will be laid to rest at her matrimonial home in Fort Ternan in Koru, Kisumu County on Saturday, August 3.