Peter Oloo Aringo jr. is the son of late former Alego Constituency Member of Parliament Oloo Aringo. His father served as an MP on two stints and was a member of the then-ruling party, KANU. Despite the father being an influential politician during the President Daniel Moi regime, Aringo Jr. now struggles to make ends meet while also battling cancer.
Kenyan politicians have often been known to live large thanks to their monstrous salaries and perks. A majority run several businesses and are also associated with various investments cutting across sectors of the economy, contributing to their affluent lifestyles. For these politicians, their children too live life in the fast lane, enjoying the wealth accumulated by their parents through various interests.
WoK in this article tells the story of Aringo Jr., who once ate life with the big spoon, but now struggling to afford a spoon.
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Background & Education
Aringo is the firstborn son of former Alego Constituency MP and cabinet minister for education Peter Oloo Aringo and a Jamaican mother.
He attended the prestigious Consolata Primary School in Nairobi and went on to join St. Mary’s Yala where he sat for his “O” Levels and later his “A” Levels examination at St Patrick’s Iten in 1987. Aringo proceeded to the Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, the United States where he pursued Business Administration and Architecture.
He also holds a diploma in counselling from the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA).
Aringo finished college in 1992 and was employed as a night regional manager at Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. He also opened a landscaping business.
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During an interview with the Standard, Aringo revealed that he began abusing drugs at the age of 10. Since his father was a powerful politician back then, his colleagues would visit and together, they would take alcohol as the young Aringo watched. In their absence, he would sip the alcohol, little did he know that he was building his path into alcohol addiction and eventual abuse.
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“Though my father used to drink alcohol with other politicians, what attracted my attention was their laughter. They would refer to each other as ‘mkubwa’ and have a jovial mood. I too wanted to be mkubwa. Slowly, I began taking alcohol,” Aringo said.
He began visiting entertainment joints, and smoking cigarettes and while at Consolata Primary School, he was already an addict. Though he continued with the alcohol abuse in high school, he took it to next level when he arrived in the US. He had the freedom, the money, and drugs were everywhere.
“Though I was an addict, I concentrated on my studies, but I could not leave my bottle and drugs. There is nothing I could do, be it studying, without abusing drugs and substance,” he said.
As if abusing the drugs alone was not enough, Aringo began trafficking hard drugs, including heroin and cocaine. He revealed that to avoid arrests, he would seal cocaine in pizza boxes. This endeared him to his peers but he landed on the radar of the New York Federal authorities.
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“I became a dealer. I decided if I want to make more and use more, I needed to get into the business. And that’s where my downward spiral began,” Aringo says.
He had become a marked man, both by the authorities and by competition since his business had grown and he had become a big dealer. He was in and out of police cells.
At one point, he was cornered by Mexican dealers who slit his stomach and left him for dead. Luckily, he was rescued by the authorities. He was arrested again and locked up at Westchester County Correctional Facility. He was charged while in hospital but denied the accusations.
He has later arrested loading drugs in a truck and was sentenced to 30 years in jail. Luckily for him, he was presented with the option for deportation and he took it. He came back home empty-handed without even his travel documents, his wife and three children.
“I did not know I was being monitored by the federal government while trafficking in drugs. I received news of my deportation with shock. That is the least I expected, having had a house, a family and a good job,” Aringo recounted.
He arrived in Kenya with nothing.
Aringo was received by his father at the Jomo Kenyatta International Aiport (JKIA). He was enrolled at a rehab centre after which he joined the Catholic University and pursued a diploma in counselling.
He currently works with the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) to sensitise the public on the dangers of abusing alcohol and drugs.
Aringo lost his younger brother Thomas Oloo Aringo to alcohol addiction in April 2017. His uncle Michael Oyugi also died of the same.
He was diagnosed with cancer of the throat at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi in 2017. Before being diagnosed with cancer, he had a swollen neck and difficulties in swallowing.
“Cancer is a disease of pain and headaches. Someone has to remain mentally strong and emotionally prepared. This disease kills you mentally. I haven’t eaten solid food for three years. It is God’s power that has kept me alive,” Aringo told the Standard.
During the interview with the Standard, he revealed that his biggest challenge at the moment is the limited finances in battling cancer. He earns a living from offering counselling services.
“Well-wishers have been helping me to access treatment. Cancer is an expensive disease to manage,” he says.
Aringo left a wife and three children in the US. He says his wife remarried but he is still in touch with them. He also married Catherine Boyane, who has been by his side in his battle with cancer.
Aringo and his wife Catherine lead a humble life in Nakuru Town East.
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