One of the daughters of the late veteran journalist Philip Ochieng has penned a moving tribute to his columnist father following his passing on April 27 due to pneumonia complications.
Akinyi Ochieng, the second last born of Ochieng’s three daughters, posted on her Facebook page the kind of father he was and how she had chosen to remember him.
Akinyi, who has been living in the United States with her family after relocating in the early 2000s, painted a picture of the other side of Ochieng, the Fifth Columnist, that many people who loved him did not know.
Here is her post verbatim:
“I can't believe that I am writing a eulogy about my dad, Philip Ochieng. Growing up, most of the time I can remember, my dad was in exile, having disagreed with the then government.
I didn't quite understand what was going on, but I knew that for some reason, he couldn't be in the country.
He used to sneak in and come see us, and I remember those were some of the best days we had with our dad.
When he was able or allowed back in the Kenya by the then late President Daniel Arap Moi, I was old enough to know that he was not going back to exile, I was so happy, still a teenager, I knew that our family was going to be together.
My late mother Jennifer Dawa Ochieng had taken very good care of us.
My dad became this famous writer, editor, English teacher, mentor known by the whole world for his vocabulary by country and prominent people, but to us he was dad.
He was a no-nonsense guy when working, refused to be bribed by politicians, at least that's what people used to tell me.
To us his family, he was very hilarious especially if he had met with a glass of whiskey or cognac. He would laugh, make fun of things and even try to tickle us, he even tickled my mom. I found out, that was the best time to ask him for money.????.
My dad loved children, I remember we used to wake up in the morning in Jericho Estate, where we used to live, we would find children, lots of children, waiting for the tickler to wake up and give then candy(sweets).
A few months ago my brother told me that, they were thinking of him moving to the village and stay with him and his wife, so that they can take care of him. When my dad arrived at home, I was so happy, I knew he was in good hands. My sister-in-law is a very good cook, and lots of family members will take care of him.
When I was told that he was sick with pneumonia I was very worried, because you see my dad was one of those people who never very sick to be hospitalized, so I was kind of scared, worried, with Covid being everywhere.
I spoke to him a few weeks ago and he remembered me very well so I thought he was going to be ok.
When I had that he passed, I was so devastated, heartbroken, scared and alone. I thought we still had a few years with him. Once again, death snatched one of the best. Rest in peace dad, till we meet again. Love you.
I would like to thank everybody for their kind prayers, and kind words, I so humbled. I thank my cousins the Otanis. God bless.????????????.”
Ochieng's wife, Jennifer Dawa, died in 2015 and they left behind their children Charles (eldest), Adhiambo, Akinyi and Aluoch and it remains unclear whether she will travel home for the burial slated for May 14 at his rural home in Manyatta, Awendo, Migori County.