Life and times of Nicholas Biwott

1903

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By Anthony Kaikai

Nicholas Kipyator arap Biwott will be remembered by many as a prominent Kenyan businessman and politician.

As a civil servant and later a Member of Parliament, he held several senior ministerial and government posts in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The late worked with Kenya’s three consecutive regimes; that of President Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki before his demise.

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Biwott was born in Chebior village, Keiyo District, Rift Valley Province in 1940.

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He was educated at Tambach Intermediate School (1951-54) and Kapsabet High School (1955-58) before gaining a Bachelor of Commerce (1964) and a Masters in Economics (1968) from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Known as one of the longest serving members of parliament in Kenya’s history, Biwott represented in Parliament the Keiyo-Marakwet and later the Keiyo South constituency for 28 years from 1979 to 2007.

Biwott began public service as a District Officer in Meru District from 1965 to 1966.

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He went on to hold eight ministerial positions including: Minister of Regional development, Science and Technology from 1982 to 1983, Minister of Energy and Regional Development from 1983 to 1988, Minister of Energy from 1988 to 1991, Minister of East African and Regional Co-operation from 1998 to1999, Minister of Trade and Industry, Tourism and East African Cooperation where he served from 1999 to 2001, and Minister of Trade and Industry and East African Tourism 2001 to 2002.

After serving as a minister in different dockets, Nicholas Biwott continued participating in active politics and was a leader of the National Vision Party.

In what many viewed as his father’s influenced who established a profitable fruit and vegetable business in Eldoret, Nicholas Biwott went on to become one of Kenya’s most successful businessmen, including a major shareholder of Kenol Kobil and ownership of Air Kenya which which operates local flights.

His companies employ thousands of people and some are listed among Kenya’s top ten corporate taxpayers.

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Biwott has supported numerous projects in education, health and medicine, and assisting small businesses.

Since 1980 the late prominent politician and businessman has been a member and trustee of the Management Committee and the Advocacy, Publicity and Fundraising Committee of the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya.

Biwott is also a founder and Patron of the Keiyo South Education Foundation that provides bursaries to needy students from primary to post-secondary education.

For much of the last 40 years Nicholas Biwott has been a prominent, influential and sometimes controversial figure in Kenya’s administrative, political and business life.

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He rose to become eight times a government minister who has worked with each of Kenya’s first three presidents, to build and develop some of Kenya’s most successful businesses, and one of the country’s leading philanthropists.

Of all of Nicholas Biwott’s nicknames, “The Total Man” is perhaps the most famous.

He coined it himself in a speech in parliament where he said that it was important for a politician to be “a man, a total man.”

Another name also started on the floor of Parliament and stuck, and with it the story of an incident in New Zealand, this incident earned him the nickname “The Bull of Auckland.”

Nicholas Kipyator Biwott, the influential politician and businessman passed at the age of 77 years.

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