An Orkoiyot is the supreme chief of the Nandi people of Kenya. As the Nandi have a dual administrative system, the Orkoiyot is the chief spiritual leader and also has the authority to make decisions regarding security, involving the waging of war. Orkoiyot does not manage the affairs of everyday life, which are handled by the Kiruogik, who are the representatives of the people. The office of Orkoiyot is hereditary, and members are drawn from a warrior class believed to be of Maasai origin.
The Orkoiyot or Orkoik (in plural) were only drawn from the Talai clan. Talai clan are believed to be used by God (Asis) to deliver message to the people. Koitalel arap Samoei himself was a Talai. Talai is one of the clans of the Nandi whose totem is represented by the Lion Ng'etundo. Talai clan are still the present Orkoik of the entire Kalenjin Community. They work hand in hand with other clans like Kipsamaek of Kipsigis sub tribe and Kobil clans whose roles are to curse enemies who invade the community.
Administrative structure of the Nandi
Before the colonization by the British, the Nandi had well organised administration, so much so that this allowed them to surpassed the Maasai as the fiercest people within East and Central Africa. This was documented by the Arabs who tried to cross the area in search for slaves.
Though quite complex, the organisation structure begins with the Orkoiyot who served both as the spiritual leader and the military chief. The Kiruogik administered day-to-day activities on behalf of the Orkoiyot. Age played a certain role in the administration of justice within a particular age set. For example, in the event that a member of an age set misbehaving it was the age set to discipline him or her through different ways depending on the gravity of the indiscipline that arose.
- Hollis, Alfred Claud (1909). The Nandi: Their Language and Folklore. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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