By Silas Nyanchwani
Many remember his stint at the helm of Law Society of Kenya (LSK) chairmanship from 2007 to 2010 (two full terms) as one of most solid and remains the last chair with #BigBalls, the subsequent chairpersons have been weaklings and regime apologists. When Nyamira Senator Eric Okong’o O’Mogeni joined politics, one expected that he will climb rooftops and take on Uhuru Jubilee regime, but like most senators, he seems to work quietly, and the positive results are there for all to see.
His stint at LSK came at a time when the country was agitating for constitutional reforms and after the post election violence and served through to the promulgation of the new constitution , he was 36 at the time of his election as chairman, perhaps the youngest to have served the most prestigious yet controversial lawyers’ professional body.
The incorruptible O’Mogeni has put the right checks on the embattled Nyamira Governor, John Nyagarama, but also he has given him time to work, unlike some senators whose ambitions sometimes blinds them to make the work of their governors impossible.
If anything, he sponsored a motion in parliament that saw Nyamira get a much needed extra Sh300 million from the exchequer to build the County headquarters, the biggest win for the first time senator. The news of the funds made even Governor Nyagarama to immediately propose to name the yet to built county headquarters complex #TheOkong’oO’MogeniCentre’. He is one of the most sober and most active senators in the respected house.
The sober senator (a teetotaler like his colleagues in top government/public positions like Chief Justice David Maraga and Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i.)
Nyamira County is presently basking in glory as her sons and daughters seem to enjoy the trust of President Uhuru Kenyatta and former premier Raila Odinga with top public positions and appointments like The Chief Justice, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior, Solicitor General, Chairman National Land Commission and Chairman IPOA are headed by Nyamirans, not many but influential enough to be noticed. Perhaps President Uhuru should appoint top government officials from this remote agricultural county if he is keen with end corruption in government.
Outside parliament, he runs a clean business, his law firm is among the top in the city and rarely do we see him representing corrupt officials or dubious characters. He is remembered for being the star Senior Counsel defending Raila in the 2017 presidential election alongside his colleague Senior Counsel James Orengo and Otiende Omollo among others, he also represented deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu. Some even cheekily say that Raila likes and trusts him and that he has quietly lobbied for ‘things’ to Nyamira county including some top public appointments in government by teaming up with CS Matiangi and support from Raila.
The Senator regularly travels to the village to spend time with the villagers/electorate, yet, he is not running for governor. Besides CS Matiangi, he is one of the few people who can help Nyamira rise from a remote backward ‘villagesh’ county. And if all Nyamira leaders were to be as focused like him, a lot would be achieved.
The senator who has a national outlook is also remembered as the lawyer who represented the errant Members of Parliament, known as the Pangani Six, from the CORD Coalition at the Milimani Courts over the Hate Speech charges.
Born in Nyamira in 1970, he schooled in Tinderet Primary, then moved to Kericho Primary before proceeding to Shauri Moyo in Kisumu where he sat for the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) in 1983. He joined Isebania High School for his ‘O’ level, and later the prestigious Kabianga boys High School for his A level. He attended University of Nairobi graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Laws degree.
Other than the senate, he has served as the chairman of the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Advisory Board (predecessors of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission), as well as a Member of the Media Council.
In 2012, President Kibaki named him ‘Senior Counsel’ alongside big legal brands like James Orengo, Ahmednassir Abdullahi, Paul Muite, Gibson Kamau Kuria, Amos Wako, Prof Githu Muingai among others. O’Mogeni holds a Master’s degree in Law, LLM, he also has a masters degree in Governance and Leadership.
The good senator has avoided the tanga tanga bug that has engulfed most of his Nyamira counterparts, he works closely with all leaders and seen as a close ally of CS Matiangi and Chief Justice David Maranga.