The African Leadership Academy congratulates alumnus Eddy Gicheru Oketch ’08, who won the race for Senator of Migori County in the recent parliamentary elections in Kenya.
Oketch was a part of the inaugural class at the academy and has been a lifelong activist. His victory comes after decades of public work, including working with 11,000 youth to foster peace following the violent 2008 elections, through his Peace for African and Economic Development (PAD) movement. He joined ALA after that remarkable achievement, before going on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College-Hartford, and a master’s degree from Yale University.
His life’s trajectory, from being among the first cohort of ALA students, to studying overseas and then returning to make an impact back home at Migori County, is an encapsulation of the mission that ALA has set for itself: to develop the next generation of ethical and entrepreneurial African leaders.
While at ALA, Oketch continued to develop PAD, leveraging off the leadership skills and networks that he learnt. His enthusiasm for Africa and its transformation earned him the Spirit for Africa Award, a prize awarded to the graduating student whose infectious passion for the African continent resonates across the Academy community, inspiring each of us to discover and serve Africa and its people.
“Eddy Oketch has been deeply passionate about the issues facing Kenyans since his arrival at African Leadership Academy as a member of our Inaugural Class in 2008. He has always sought to take action, dedicating his career to serving Kenyan youth and the people of Migori county, and we celebrate his election as Senator on this day. Eddy knows that there is much hard work ahead as he serves the people of Migori and Kenya. We look forward to sharing in his journey,” says ALA Founder Chris Bradford.
Oketch was of late the Chief Executive Officer of Anywair Group, a lender of capital goods to small businesses and households, and also a founder of Ongoza, a youth empowerment movement which grew out of PAD.
He has also participated in leading conferences around the globe including the World Economic Forum, the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative, and the G8 Summit, where he was a panel leader. Oketch won the 2012 Impact Award from the Kenyan US Diaspora and was named 2013 Africa Village’s Top 30 Under 30 “Most Inspirational Young People on the African continent”, for his work with Ongoza. He was also named Salt’s 2015 top 30 under 30 most innovative and influential youth in Africa.
In an interview with us previously, Oketch said laid out his vision for Africa, saying: “My hope for the Africa in the next 50 years is that we have more integrated business and political leadership. This is why platforms like African Leadership Academy are extremely important. A graduate in Kenya will be able to call another one in Sierra Leone or Ghana to share ideas; we need to bring these societies together for shared peace and shared prosperity to take Africa forward!”