Saturday, April 25, 2009



April 25 2009

One of Kenya’s most respected law scholars, Prof Hastings Winston Opinya Okoth-Ogendo, has passed on.

The late Prof Ogendo, a former Vice Chairman of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, passed away on Friday night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he had gone to do some work for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He had left the country last Saturday, April 18.

According to Ed Rege, a close family friend, Prof Ogendo fell ill last Monday. “And for the next three days, his illness got worse,” said Mr Rege while briefing the media at the deceased's residence in Karen.

“On Wednesday, he was joined by his wife, Mrs Ruth Okoth. We understand that he was taken to hospital on Thursday to seek treatment but unfortunately, he did not make it. He died on Friday night while under intensive care,” said Mr Rege.

He told the Sunday Nation they plan to transport the body to Nairobi by Tuesday, April 28. He said doctors were still carrying out a post-mortem examination on the body before it is released.

And he disclosed that a tentative burial date has been set for May 9, at Gem Rae, in Nyando district. This is subject to approval from the family. “In the meantime, we shall be holding regular meetings at the Nairobi Club to finalise funeral arrangements,” said Mr Rege.

Prof Ogendo’s death sent shock waves across the country with Prime Minister Raila Odinga describing it as a “blow to the pro-reform movement in the country”.

“I have received the news with disbelief. In Prof Ogendo, the country has lost a top brain and an academic just when the country needed him most. He was an undisputed authority on land law,” said the PM in a statement.

Mr Odinga said the late professor contributed greatly to the National Constitutional Conference at the Bomas of Kenya and the search for a new constitution. He said the country had lost a patriot, a fighter and a high calibre scholar.

Similar messages of condolences were sent by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and former Nyakach MP Peter Odoyo.

Dr Ben Sihanya, the dean of Law at the University of Nairobi said Kenya has lost a distinguished scholar, who participated in the establishment of the school.

“Its a big shock to us. His expertise in land law was unrivalled on the continent. He has advised many governments on these issues. We shall sadly miss him,” said Dr Sihanya.

Born in 1944, the late Prof Ogendo attended Maseno and Alliance High schools before proceeding to the University of East Africa in Dar-es Salaam and the Oxford University for his Bachelors Degree in Civil Law.

He then attended the University of Yale between 1973 and 1978 where he earned a Doctorate of Science of Law. He later taught at the University of Nairobi, Boston University Law School, New York University Law School amongst others.

He leaves behind his wife, Mrs Ruth Okoth, and five children.


Taz said...
April 25, 2009 at 10:57 PM  

Prof Okoth Ogendo was a brilliant scholar and leaves behind a rich legacy. May he rest in peace.

benta ogendo said...
April 28, 2009 at 12:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
benta ogendo said...
April 28, 2009 at 12:09 AM  

Its so sad especially to loose a dear uncle and a best friend. For to live is Christ and to die is gain. God's plan is always the best. Uncle will be missed by the whole family. Eternal rest be granted unto professor and let perpetual light shine upon him. Rest in peace

Lillianne orinda said...
April 28, 2009 at 12:10 AM  

Uncle Okoth was not only a uncle but also my good friend and a dad. May his soul rest in peace. Amen. lilly.

Anonymous said...
April 28, 2009 at 11:14 AM  

Oh Prof, u were my freind and teacher. u taught me that if a lawyer does not contribute to tne development of his nation then his Degree is useless . I WILL MISS U FOREVER AND I WILL NEVER FORGET U.

Unknown said...
January 31, 2016 at 1:37 PM  

I am a law student.....and every best book or document for reference is Okoth Ogendos.... I salute this best brain that ever existed on earth