Lt. Gen. (Rtd) John K Koech (1946-2020), Military man who ventured into politics

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The late Lt. Gen. (Rtd) John K Koech was born in 1946. Lt Gen (Rtd.) John Koech upon completing his secondary school education, like many young people did then, applied and was recruited into the Kenya Army on 16th January 1968 where served diligently rising through the ranks from a Lieutenant up to the coveted position of Lt. General, Vice Chief of General Staff, a position he held until his retirement.

He retired honorably from the services of the Kenya Armed Forces on 15 December 2005 after a colorful career spanning 39 years.
Upon his retirement, he immersed himself into civilian life with zeal and as he was still full of energy. He was appointed by the then Head of State to Chair the Board of KIRDI, and in due course became a member of the Poverty Eradication Program.

Along the way he ventured into active politics first vying for the Ainamoi Parliamentary seat and though he was not successful, he continued participating in shaping the political landscape through the United Democratic Party (UDM) which he headed as its Chairman and leader. He died on November 29, 2020 after he fell sick.


Dear daddy, I miss you so much already and the time we spent together. I remember the big smile you always had for us. And the Hello Sweetie which made my heart skip. You are the most amazing man I have ever known and I felt so proud when people would tell me we look alike.

I have often thought we are so similar, but boy am I so wrong. Having heard the tributes that have made me reflect on who you were to many, I can only hope to be even a fraction of the great man you were. You were larger than life and sometimes could not help it.

I remember this one time when you came for sports day at Kenya High School, mum was at Consolata attending a function with Eric and Chebet. The school settled into their respective places and to my surprise there you were marching in with Mrs Wanjohi and the real Guest of Honour, somehow you became the second guest of honour.

I picked up love of reading from you. Your knowledge was always 100% you were always on point with the facts of history. You were a walking encyclopedia. You were always supportive of all my endeavours, even when you did not agree with my decisions – Navy career.

You called me Marco Polo and often get exasperated with my travels. You also gave us amazing experiences and expanded our horizons, and took us to such lovely places where we made great memories. You made us love swimming, teaching us how to swim by throwing us into the pool at Nairobi Club to mum’s shock and horror.

You introduced us to exotic foods, it is no secret that our favourite food is Japanese food, and Misono one of our favourite restaurants. The Misono family were also heartbroken at the news that you have left us. You seemed to know everyone. Once you met someone you connected and they were known to you, people from all walks of life, you made a point to remember them forever.

Their heartbreak is audible; I have cried with some of your friends on the phone in total disbelief. Your love for us and for mum, was solid. We can never replace you and I am not really sure how she will get through without you but we will stand strong for her and support her the best way we can.

I was often perplexed how after so many years you would still be telling each other new stories. How now? You still made each other laugh and were so comfortable with each other’s company. Daddy you gave us the best of the best. We are eternal grateful. We love you forever and miss you so much.

We will keep your legacy and memory alive. Fare thee well daddy! Vaya con dios! Ruu komiye!

Till we meet again.

Follow the link below for more on late Lt. Gen. (Rtd) John K Koech.

General Koech Funeral Program

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6 replies

    Fare thee well mentor. You always told us of how to set our sights so high your spirit will live with us.
    Ru komnyee Mentor.

  2. Lily Ng'eno
    Lily Ng'eno says:

    Fare thee well our dear hero.It is too early that you left,but we will forever miss you.I cannot forget how you stood and encouraged us when our late Dad,your cousin (Mr Thomas Kiprop Ng’eno) went to be with the LORD, you became a shoulder to lean on.You kept encouraging us,more so to me since i was so affected by my late father’s death.
    I remember when we met in Kericho Town in company of my friends you said”wau! you look strong now”
    Rest in peace.

  3. Aruna and Kamal Sethi
    Aruna and Kamal Sethi says:

    John was a born leader. Inspiration by example to many. Dearly loved by colleagues, seniors and those he led. Our relationship grew to more than that of brothers in arms. We maintained our family bonds since our retirement and my migration to Canada. We wish Hilda and family strength and courage as they cope with the emptiness. We will cherish our many happy memories to fill the void. It won’t be easy but that’s the cycle of nature we all have to
    accept. RIP, my ndugu. Toronto, Canada

  4. Joseph kipkemboi koech
    Joseph kipkemboi koech says:

    It’s now two since you left us to be with the lord,but to us your siblings it’s like yesterday for we miss you a lot cos you really took care of us as your own children after dad died.we lack words of thanking you because you are not with us to say,but the Angeles will thank you and take good care of you on our behave in heaven.Rest in peace brother.🙏


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