Historian Professor William Ochieng dies at 70


Respected Kenyan history scholar Prof William Ochieng died Saturday evening at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu.

Prof Ochieng had been admitted at the hospital on Thursday after he developed breathing problems.

“We took him to hospital on December 26th after he complained of breathing problems. We are sad to report that Mzee (Prof Ochieng) left us at 6pm on Saturday,” said his son Edward Ochieng.

He added that Prof Ochieng who is a former Principal of Maseno University College has been suffering from severe arthritis for the past couple of months.

He has been in the news lately after he offered a controversial interview with Saturday Nation conversation with book lover in which he gave a scratching attack on Prof Ali Mazrui , South Sudanese literally scholar Prof Taban Lo Liyong and Prof Ngugi wa Thiongo.

During the interview, Prof Ochieng looked weak but intellectually sober and was dressed in his trade mark khaki short, a pair of slippers and walked with the aid of a stick.

He described Prof Mazrui as overrated, Taban as a con and Prof Ngugi as a tribalist.

Prof Ochieng served in the former President Daniel arap Moi government as a Permanent Secretary and has severally defended his association with Mr Moi.

The scholar said that he had no regrets of working for Moi.

Last month he released a book of 50 years of Kenya’s independence and has done extensive research on migration of the Abagusi of Western Kenya.

The professor has acknowledged in The Moi Presidency in Kenya: The Politics of Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy, 1978-2002 that he advised and even helped write some of Moi’s speeches.

He was born in Jinja, Uganda, in 1943.-nation.co.ke

Prof William R. Ochieng (William Ochieng) during an interview with Saturday Nation in Kisumu. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI | FILE

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