There are people who believe Kisumu West MP John Olago Aluoch is bewitched. How can a man lose his wife in a road accident, get involved in a near-fatal accident a year later, and then his child dies in yet another accident a few hours before boarding a flight to the USA?
“Bad things have happened to me. At first, I wondered ‘why me?’ Now, I am focusing on the lessons I can learn from the experiences. Misfortunes have a way of shaping you,” he narrated to Standard Digital on Sunday August 30, dismissing thoughts that bad spirits hover on his head.
“When people think you are bewitched, it means they fear you, and that is fine,” he revealed, letting out a hearty laugh.
Olago preferred that when his story is told, it does not focus much on his face. He believes his existence is stitched bits by bits by the scars he carries on his face, body and heart.
Anytime he runs his fingers across his face, he is reminded of how he almost died in a road accident in 1998 on his way from the court.
“I lost consciousness and stayed in the ICU for days. My face was smashed. I could not move my jaws. My right eye was twitching involuntarily and doctors thought I was going to lose sight. I almost never made it. I almost died.” he disclosed.
The first time he saw his face after the accident, he vowed to never leave the house.
“From looking at people’s horrified expressions, I knew things were not good. When I saw my face, it was ghastly and distorted. Scary. I never imagined I would step out and face the world,” he narrated.
After several reconstructive surgeries, including in Switzerland where he stayed for several months as doctors attempted to correct the damage on his face, he made peace with his imperfection.
“My wife told me about the anguish and worry she endured seated at the waiting room anytime I went for surgery to repair my face. I decided to stop,” he posed.
The scar that people cannot see is the one etched inside his heart. It happened on a Friday night in October 2016.
They got a call in the dead of night saying his daughter Joy Atieno had perished in a road accident while driving from her home that she was constructing in Rongai.
“It was unbelievable. We had talked the previous day. I do not remember what happened between when I left home and when I saw my daughter’s lifeless body on the slab. I touched her and whispered: Go well ‘Nyar John’. That is how I used to fondly call her,” he explained.
Joy left a series of things behind, including a career that was just taking off, a house that was a few months into completion, and her father’s broken heart.
“For many days, I did not talk. I mean, what was there to say?” told Olago.
Many people say it is his daughter’s death that killed the fire Olago had when he was elected in 2007, riding on the ODM party wave.
“He was voted because of his vast knowledge of the law. He no longer engages in bunge,” revealed Peter Opondo, a youth leader in Kisumu who pointed out that his disappointment of Olago going quiet and even when they feel his voice is needed most, like in the BBI discussions, he is conspicuously quiet.
Olago however claimed his perceived silence is not connected to his personal life.
He added that when he was getting into politics, there were fewer legislators but times have changed. He is now focusing on finding a balance between playing his role in the legislature and being present in his constituency.
He adds that what could be adding to his silence is the reduced level of seriousness in debate and lack of decorum he sees in the current parliament.
“Things are playful and noisy. With a heavy heart, I sometimes ask myself if I really belong here,” he revealed. He still plans to vie in 2022 as MP but has not settled on a political party.