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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


Updated: Mar 24, 2022



In this way Uyoma clan is no different from the Luos of 1200 AD whose daily past time was raiding the banks of the river Nile setting Kingdoms and dynasties as they trek deep into the heart of exotic dark Africa along the Equator and deep into the Congo Empire

In the beginning the Lake Basin was the seat of power and centre of activity in the Eastern African region and Nairobi was just a stopover for refreshments. Then with the onset of the two world wars and displacement of the war veterans, various centres in East Africa started to spontaneously establish Kisumu-Ndogos of veterans and war veterans who were “lured” away from the Lake Basin. Being Lured-away with good times did not start yesterday with my brethren

These Kisumu-Ndogos were all spontaneous until two gentlemen from Uyoma decided to redraw the map of Nairobi. WW2 war veteran Omwanda and Wilson Arika completely redrew the map of Nairobi which was just an afterthought breakaway for the Muzungu on his way to the real part of East Africa.

OMWANDA the war Vet ( Burma Market)

Omwanda from Uyoma is a war veteran of World War II. He survived WWII and came back but not empty handed. During his WWII tour of duty Omwanda was posted in Burma among other stop-overs in the Asian countries. Like any WWII vets he came home with little to show for it compared to the European and American war vets. In fact, some vets like the Gurkhas are still being rewarded to date in various parts of Europe.

Omwanda on the other hand took matters in his own hands. Omwanda came back with transferable business knowledge, Japanese Zaibatsu business models supply line of bales and bales of textiles and fabrics hand stitched at friendly costs unlike the European expensive assembly line.

From the supply line of textiles, Omwanda imported bales and bales of Mali Kutoka Burma and sold them off the location off Jogoo road. And this is how the name Burma market on Jogoo road stuck to date. It is also the reason football fans refer to Nairobi City stadium as tok-k’Omwanda (Omwanda’s backyard)

On Zaibatsu model from Japan Omwanda built his business around Uyoma kins, Luos and greater Nyanza. A product of his Zaibatsu model who is one eatery Ranalo, the proprietor who is a nephew of Omwanda and fellow Ja Uyoma. And this was not the only beneficiary as the stalls on the Burma market were mainly issued to Lakeside people who took over 95% of the stalls even if they were later were sold off to non-Luos (what’s new there!).

The power of the small business was popularised among the Lake side by Osewe who Omwanda handheld into a rare industry much maligned among the Luos.

Wilson Arika

Wilson Arika of Uyoma in his own right put the foot on the door for many Luos and changed Eastland’s from another Luo Kisumu-Ndogo to a place where Luos occupied middle class status. The influence and entry into property ladder of Luos in the sprawling east lands Nairobi was due to mainly one Nairobi City Housing Superintendent, Wilson Arika. In his Bar-wa-bar modus operandi he made sure that Luos who are distant migrant worker were fast tracked to occupy decent housing in Nairobi as they occupied the major working force. This greatly enabled them to build on to disposable income that Luos in turn sent back to the lake basin. In Council estates in Nairobi of Shauri Moyo, Makadara, Makongeni, Maringo up to Jericho Luos equitably got allocation of at least 50%. In this way Arika completely and permanently influenced the current Nairobi Nilotic cultural horizon that is so prominent in vowelized Kiswahili upto now. And in no small way the habitation was spring board to the current Nairobi electoral power base and nobody else.

And the most remarkable thing about Arika is that he had no time to waste to wait for you to thank him or worship him. Ja Uyoma did not even take flowery greetings like to ungima.. nyithindo dhi nadi…cham rom nadi kaluo.. koth chwe I dala. He would rather you say Osawore and went your way to fend for your family in that house.

When discussing their selfless community support (CSR) to the Luo with my friend Jim Ranyondo Mak'Agunda I realised no Luo in the modern republic can surpass these two gentlemen from Uyoma. I dare you to name one so that we can add the name into our Who is Who list. And we had Luos sons with the best accents, well positioned and powerful. We had sons of the Lake who were so powerful and influential that they could part in the middle of the road to go and attend their business in the city of Nairobi. Some whose signature on the entertainment page of a Newspaper was enough proof for a bank teller to issue you with cash. But no one opened doors like these two.

And I dare say when the economists do their work, they will find that the handholding work these Omwanda and Arika, both of Uyoma did enabled Luo Nyanza to minimise decades of economic marginalisation in Luo land the way other global groups have managed to repulse negative economic trends in naturals calamities or man-made embargoes like US sanctions on Asian counties. These countries were able to outdo the US disasters and other natural disasters by simply sending diaspora remittances back to their home countries.

And I don’t care whether they came from Uyoma clan of:

1. Katweng’a,

2. K'Okiri

3. K'Abudha

4. Kabuongi

5. K’Obong’

All I know is Uyoma not only saved the Luo community but Luonised, Nairobi culture, the cuisine, habits by the sheer concentration of Luos in as community and a Luo cultural seige mentality. In this way Omwanda and Arika and Uyoma is no different from the Luos of 1200 AD whose daily past time was raiding the banks of the river Nile setting Kingdoms as they trek deep into the heart of exotic dark Africa along the Equator and deep into the Congo Empire


This just and indicative sample without even the various sub-clans.

1. Omwanda- World War 2 veteran from Burma station, Omwanda was the pioneer of South East Asia tiger economy. He established the easily transferable skill of textiles and fabrics trading from Burma and set up the open air stall at Jogoo road, Kaloleni Nairobi. His chants of “Mali Kutoka Burma” (Burma imports) over took Omwanda market and the venue became known as Burma market to date. Omwanda ja Uyoma pioneered the Tiger economy that has today bypassed the African as an economic power. Ja Uyoma Osewe is arguable the first Luo diaspora to bring back transferable skills.

2. Wilson Arika (Kabudha)- Nairobi City Council Housing Superintendent; innovator of Bar-wa-Bar. His equitable distribution of affordable Housing in Nairobi enabled the Luo migrant community in Nairobi to lay cultural siege and avail disposable income to lighten 50 years of state enabled economic neglect and marginalisation of Luo Nyanza. The who-is-who of Luo children raised from these council households of Eastlands will make a remarkable paragraph of reading if not a chapter when the history of the Lake side Luo is re-written.

3. Walter Fanuel Odede (Katweng'a), President Kenya African Union (KAU), member of LEGCO

4. Dr Pamela Arwa Odede (Katweng'a)- Widow of late Tom Mboya, Envoy and environmentalist

5. Richard Achieng Oneko (Kabudha)- Freedom Fighter, political detainee, MP Nakuru and Rarieda, Cabinet Minister- Ministry of Foreign Affairs

6. Collins Oneko (Kabudha) - Businessman, Proprietor Azuri Technologies; Popular politician

7. James Otumba, Advocate of the High Court, young technocrats based at Mercuries House, Victoria street at independence

8. Rachel Odede (Kabudha)- INGO Technocrat,

9. Dr Henry Omondi Nyawanda- Business man, ENT specialist

10. Engineer Bismarck Odede- (Katweng'a)- Businessman

11. George Alaka- Businessman, MD Sibo Water

12. William Osewe- Businessman Hotelier, Food and Beverages Industries; Ranalo Eateries

13. Dr Jorry Odede (Katweng'a), Business man and Eye specialist

14. Professor Walter Jura (Kabudha)- Research Scientist and Professor of parasitology

15. Samuel Onyango Olasi- politician community worker

16. Major James Humphrey Obanda Oswago (Kokiri)- CEO Electoral Commission of Kenya

17. Deputy Mayor A. Adongo- Civic politician, Deputy Mayor Nairobi, Businessman

18. Joyce Lwande Oneko (Kabudha) – Business woman, author (Gladiators of Uyoma)

19. Nam Oneko (Kabudha)- Businessman, son of nationalist, Ramogi Achieng Oneko

20.Otiende Amolo (Katweng'a)- Laywer, Advocate of the High Court, politician MP Rarieda

21. Joe Ageyo (Katweng'a)- Media personalilty, Citizen TV

22.Elizabeth Ongoro ( Katweng'a) Politician

23. Dick Oruko (Kabudha)- Farmer, Businessman, Son of nationalist Ramogi Achieng Oneko

24.Dr Onyango Nyawanda- Oncologist

25.Odeny Ngure (Kobong' )- Businessman, Quantity Surveyor, politician, Former Member of Parliament.

26.Nicodemus Odongo (Katweng'a)- Technocrat, CEO, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)

27.Dr Lumumba Odede (Katweng'a)- Businessman, Cardiologist

28.Engineer George Kidenda- Hotelier, Business man (Wigot Gardens)

29. Ouma Okendo- Business man, Party politician, illustrious Community Organiser

30.Mama Agnes Achola - Musician, performer, composer ( nyatiti and Dodo

31.Aton Mito- Griot, traditional musician, entertainer, performer, accordion player, nyatiti ( 8 stringed Luo instrument).

32.Odhiambo Tusker- Benga Musician, composer, performer

33. Mary A.B. Owino-Business woman, Transport Economist, Proprietor (Kamolo Bus Services Fleet)

34.Meshack Okelo Ndisi- Diplomat

35. Professor Oyaro Oyucho- Academia, Educationist

36. Dr Omondi Ogude-Oncologist (South Africa)

37. Dr Otedo- Business man, medic

38. Chief Uhuru Nyanza Mbogo Okelo- Public Administrator



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