Achieng Oneko

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Jomo Kenyatta, Apa Pant and Achieng Oneko

Ramogi Achieng Oneko (1920–2007) was a Kenyan freedom fighter and a politician. In Kenya, he is considered as a national hero.

He was born in Tieng'a village in Uyoma sub-location in Bondo District in 1920[1] and educated at Maseno School.[2]


Oneko was one of the six freedom fighters arrested by the British colonial government in Kapenguria in 1952. Other members of the group, known as "Kapenguria Six" were Jomo Kenyatta, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kaggia, Kungu Karumba and Fred Kubai. They were arrested for allegedly being linked with the Mau Mau rebellion movement.[3] They were released nine years later, in 1961, two years before Kenya gained independence.[4]


The first parliamentary election were held on independence in 1963 and Achieng Oneko won the Nakuru Town Constituency seat.[5] Jomo Kenyatta became the first president of Kenya and soon appointed Achieng Oneko Minister for Information, Broadcasting and Tourism. However, in 1966 Oneko quit the government and joined the newly created Kenya People's Union, a socialist party led by his comrade Oginga Odinga.[3]

In 1969 Oneko was arrested by his former friend Kenyatta following an incident in Kisumu during Kenyatta's visit to the town. Oneko was released in 1975.[3]

Oneko returned to politics in 1992 when he was elected as an MP at the first multiparty elections in Kenya. He represented Ford-Kenya party, led by Oginga Odinga. However, he lost his Rarieda Constituency seat at the next elections held in 1997.[3]


Oneko died of a heart attack aged 87 on 9 June 2007 at his home in Kunya village, Rarieda, Bondo District.[6]

Oneko left a widow Loice Anyango. His eldest wife Jedida died in 1992.[3] He has 11 children, seven sons and four daughters.[6] His oldest son is Dr Ongonga Achieng[7]

At the time of his death, Oneko was the only one of the "Kapenguria six" still alive. Mashujaa Day (previously known as Kenyatta Day until the promulgation of the new Kenya constitution on 27 August 2010) is a national holiday in Kenya that commemorates the detention of the Kapenguria Six on 20 October 1952.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), 9 June 2007: Achieng Onekos's struggle
  2. ^ "Maseno Old Boys". Maseno School. Retrieved 2011-08-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d e The Standard: 16 June 2007:"Fare thee well Achieng' Oneko". Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  4. ^ The Standard, 16 August 2004:"A colourful career ends in dishonour". Archived from the original on 21 August 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  5. ^ Center for Multiparty Democracy: Politics and Parliamentarians in Kenya 1944–2007
  6. ^ a b Daily Nation, 10 June 2007: Achieng Oneko dies, aged 87
  7. ^ The Standard, 26 November 2009: RARIEDA: Oneko celebrated tomorrow
  8. ^ Kenya Times, 23 October 2005:"Kenyatta Day a sad reminder of Kenya's distorted history". Archived from the original on 19 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-16.