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Tugen may also refer to Tugen Hills in Kenya.
The Tugen are a sub tribe of the Kalenjin people alongside the Nandi, Kipsigis, Keiyo, Pokot, Marakwet, Sabaot, Ogiek, Lembus and Sengwer sub-tribes. They occupy Baringo County and some parts of Nakuru County in the former Rift Valley Province, Kenya. Daniel arap Moi, the second president of Kenya (1978–2002), was from the Tugen sub-tribe. The Tugen people speak the Tugen language. The Tugen population is estimated at 350,000.
The Lembus people are confused as being either Nandi or a sub tribe of Kalenjin; but has been dismissed with history discovered of the Lembus people. They are predominantly a group of People who originally lived in the forest called Somek, Murkaptuk, Kamaruso and Partially assimilated Ogiek.
Traditionally, the Tugen were cattle keepers and the cow occupied a central part in their cultural lives, as meat, milk, currency, and dowry. Among the Kalenjin community they are known as the most resilient alongside the Pokot people since they live in harsh climatic conditions.
The Tugen are further subdivided into four subgroups or sections :
- Arror live in the Highlands of Kabartonjo and the lowlands of Kerio Valley (Barwessa) and Lake Baringo of North Baringo District. They are perceived as the most advanced group in terms of education and wealth accumulation.
- Samors who live in the wider Kabarnet in Central Baringo district. This is the group from which the second president of Kenya, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi comes.
- Lembus who occupy the fertile and well drained farmlands of Koibatek District.
- Endorois who come from the Marigat and Mogotio Districts. They are a marginalized community and are known to take great pride in their culture.
Traditionally, like other Kalenjin people, the Tugen prayed to a God called Asis (which means 'sun'.) Most have converted to Christianity. Islam has flourished in the major towns and it was these towns that some Tugens convert into Islam and adopted Islamic names.
The Tugen social organisation centres on the age-set, or ibindo. There are seven age-sets (ibinwek) which are rotational, meaning at the end of one ageset new members of that generation are born. The order is roughly as given below.
Among the some Kalenjin peoples, an age-set called Maina exists. However, among the Tugen, this ageset is extinct. Legend has it that the members of this ibindo were wiped out by the Keiyo, their cousins in war. For fear of a recurrence, the community decided to retire the age-set.
Ibindo was given out at initiation and by simple arrangements, there ought to be one ibindo between a father and a son. For example, a korongoro cannot beget a kipkoimet. The Tugen don't consider a woman to have an ageset, hence she can marry any ageset except that in which her father belongs. The Tugen say "ma tinyei ibin korko" which means a woman has no ageset.
Age sub-set (siritie)
In each age-set, the initiates were bundled into siritie or what can be understood as a 'team'. There are three 'teams' or siritoik in an age-set (ibindo) namely:
- Barnot (literally youth)
- Daniel arap Moi
- Gideon Moi
- Brian Bichiri,student leader Technical university of Mombasa,founder TUMSC Revolution.)
- Reuben K. Chesire
- Lawrence Bomett
- Bishop Jackson Kosgey
- Sialo Kimiring
- Benjamin Chesire Cheboi, the first governor of Baringo County
- Hosea Kiplagat
- Peter Kipyator
- Paul Tergat
- Solomon Rutto Ngemui - Chairman Kapcheberek group in Uasin Gishu
- Joseph Leboo, Chairman of The Lembus Council of Elders
- Philemon Chelagat
- Lucy Jebet Mitei, Philanthropist and Civil Society Activict
- Phyllis Kandie - Cabinet Secretary East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism
- Emmy Kosgei - Leading Kalenjin Gospel Music singer
- Jacqueline Komen- Miss Tourism Kenya 2015
- Joel Bartai Masiror
- Hellen Sambili, Professor and former MP of Mogotio Constituency
- Prof. Japhet Kiptoon, former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education
- Grace Jelagat Kimooi Kipchoim first MP of Baringo South Constituency
- William Cheptumo - MP of Baringo North Constituency
- Moses Lessonet - MP of Eldama Ravine constituency
- freeman Elijah Chesire - elder Talai Village]]