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Why education is Ouko family’s gift to community

Wednesday February 14 2018

Dr Robert Ouko Memorial Community Library

Dr Robert Ouko Memorial Community Library in Maram village, Kisumu County, on February 13, 2018. It was named in memory of former Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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Twenty-eight years after the foul murder of former Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko, his memories are still fresh among the residents of Maram village in Muhoroni Sub-County where he chose to settle with his family.

His legacy lives among the younger generation who utilise the modern library and primary school named after him.

Dr Robert Ouko Memorial Library - built by the government - and the Sh26 million Dr Robert Ouko Primary School - which are constructed on land donated by Dr Ouko’s family - serve pupils from the village and those from the neighbouring Kericho County.

Mr Christopher Silala, who is the officer in charge of the library, said the facility – which can accommodate up to 250 people – acts as a symbol of unity for the residents who have occasionally been entangled in cattle rustling, is a common crime on the Kericho-Kisumu border.

“The facility is always full during the school holidays and over the weekends when students from both counties are out of school,” he said.

The library has also kept an archive of the old pictures and items of the once powerful minister.

Among the photos include those showing Dr Ouko meeting former US President Ronald Reagan and former Ethiopian leader Emperor Haile Selassie.

There are also his personal books and college notes as well as the ministerial flag he used while in office.

In addition, the family has donated a six-acre piece of land for the construction of a constituent college of the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology.

According to Ouko Community Initiative Project coordinator James Okaka, the research institute at the Muhoroni campus will be named after Dr Ouko.

“We want the region to produce powerful and smart people who can take over from the man who rose to become one of the most powerful people in the country,” Mr Okaka said.

“With the help of donors and well-wishers, mostly from the US, the family has sponsored bright and needy children from Maram village through various secondary schools and universities,” he added.

“In partnership with Longhorn Publishers, we have also provided e-learning gadgets to Dr Robert Ouko Primary and Menara Primary schools."