William Odongo Omamo
Omamo in 1982
Born(1928-03-27)27 March 1928
Died27 April 2010(2010-04-27) (aged 82)
Burial placeNyambarimba House, Utonga Bay, Bondo
EducationMaranda Sector School
Maseno College
Alma materPunjab Agricultural College (BS)
Occupation(s)Politician, farmer, college principal
OrganizationEgerton College
Political partyKANU
SpouseJoyce Acholla
Anne Audia
Children16, including Raychelle Omamo
Member of Parliament for Muhoroni Constituency
In office
1997 (1997)–2002 (2002)
Preceded byJustus Aloo Ogeka
Succeeded byPatrick Ayiecho Olweny
Minister of Agriculture
In office
1984 (1984)–1987 (1987)
Preceded byMunyua Waiyaki
Succeeded bySimeon Nyachae
Member of Parliament for Bondo Constituency
In office
1980 (1980)–1988 (1988)
Preceded byJohn Hezekiah Ougo
Succeeded byGilbert Paul Oluoch
In office
1969 (1969)–1974 (1974)
Preceded byJaramogi Oginga Odinga
Succeeded byJohn Hezekiah Ougo

William Odongo Omamo (27 March 1928 in Bondo, Kenya Colony – 27 April 2010) was a Kenyan politician. He was a minister for Agriculture, Minister for Environment and Natural Resources[1] and a member of parliament for the Bondo Constituency and Muhoroni Constituency.[2] Omamo had two wives, Joyce Acholla and Anne Audia, and 16 children. One of the most prominent is Raychelle Omamo, a former Law Society of Kenya chairperson and former ambassador to France who was selected as Cabinet Secretary of Defence in April 2013.[3]

Omamo was also a large-scale farmer in Bondo and Muhoroni. He farmed many different crops, but was most noted for operating the largest privately owned sugar plantation in Kenya. After Kenya gained independence he became the first African principal of Egerton College, which has since become a university.

Early life

Omamo was born on 27 March 1928, in Bondo (then ruled as part of the British Kenya Colony) in a family of eight children, two boys and six girls. His father married eight other women and had scores of children. He went to Maranda Sector School, five kilometres from his home, in 1936. He once described his first day in school as follows: "I was half naked, with only a goat skin strip to cover the private parts and buttocks."[3]

By the time Omamo finished secondary school at Maseno College, he had developed a passion for agriculture. He then received a scholarship to study in India in 1951. He graduated from the Punjab Agricultural College in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.[3] He also earned a Doctorate, and studied at Oregon State University.[clarification needed]

Political career

Omamo's career in politics began in 1969 and he successfully vied for the Bondo seat. It was previously Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s, but after falling out with the administration in place he was detained just before the elections. Omamo's political career spanned almost four decades and saw him represent the Bondo and Muhoroni constituencies in Kenya. Starting on 10 August 1982, he was Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. Omamo also served as Minister for; Agriculture and Livestock development and Science and Technology.[4] Omamo and Odinga partook in a political rivalry that would last for years. They vied for the support of the people of Bondo, and to a lesser extent Muhoroni.[4] Omamo's last public post came when former President Moi appointed him to chair a commission in the late 1980s.[4]

Death and legacy

After falling ill in the mid 2000s, Omamo died from a long standing illness at the age of 82 on 27 April 2010.[5] His funeral was attended by family and friends, which included Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Mwai Kibaki, the then prime minister, vice president and president respectively. He was buried at his estate in Utonga Bay at Nyambarimba house, just outside Bondo.

Omamo is remembered as one of Kenya's most illustrious politicians, as well as for his bulky frame and sense of humour.[2] His family included two wives, 16 children and many grandchildren, a number of which are professionals in law and medicine.


  1. ^ "The Constitution of Kenya: Appointment of a Minister". Kenya Gazette. 13 August 1982. p. 940. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b Kaberia, Judie (27 April 2010). "Ex Kenyan MP Odongo Omamo is dead » Capital News". Capital News. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "William Odongo Omamo – Man with elephantine humour | Kenya Yearbook". kenyayearbook.co.ke. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2016. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c "Former minister Omamo dies". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Former Kenya MP Omamo dies". Daily Nation. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2017.