Nyong’o was born in Ratta, Kisumu, Kenya. He completed his undergraduate studies at Uganda’s Makerere University, where he was awarded a 1st class honours degree in political science. He Served as Guild president of Makerere in 1969/70. He thereafter proceeded to his graduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he obtained his Master’s and PhD in political science in 1977.
Nyong’o took teaching positions at the University of Nairobi, where he was a professor of political science and a visiting professor in universities in Mexico and Addis Ababa, where he served until 1987, before taking up the position of head of programs at the African Academy of Sciences.
He was a member of the Kenyan Senate representing Kisumu County from March 4, 2013 to August 8, 2017 having been elected on an ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) Party ticket. He is a former Member of Parliament for Kisumu Rural constituency, having been elected on a NARC ticket in the December 2002. His political career dates back to 1992, when he was first elected to parliament. He served as a nominated MP from 1998 to 2002. From 2003 to 2005, Nyong’o served as the Minister for Planning and National Development, and from 2008 to 2013 he was the Minister for Medical Services.
He is credited with actively engaging in the movement for Kenya’s second liberation during the previous KANU regime. For his contribution to scholarship and democratization, Nyong’o received a German-African Award in 1995.
From October to December 2013, Nyong’o was a Brundtland Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In this role, he taught a course in the Department of Global Health and Population titled “Leadership Development in Global Health and Policy-Making in Kenya: The Case of Four Parastatals.”
His children are Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, fashion designer Fiona Nyongo’o, Esperanza Wamoni Nyongo’o, businesswoman Zawadi Nyongo’o, and Peter Nyongo’o, who plays soccer as a goalkeeper.
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The Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is a standard-gauge railway (SGR) in Kenya that connects the large Indian Ocean city of Mombasa with Nairobi, the country's capital and largest city. This SGR...