Personal Life



Nicholas Biwott managed to do something which many of us have not succeeded in doing. He managed to have a robust public life but managed to keep his family away and secure.

William Ruto President of Kenya 2022 – 

Biwott had a daughter in an early relationship. Later, during his time studying in Australia, Biwott met Dutch-born Hannie, whom he married in 1963 and with whom he had two daughters. Subsequently, in new relationships, he had a daughter with Margaret Kamar and two daughters and a son with Callista Mathews.

Early years of Biwott and Hannie’s Marriage.

"Hannie, be strong and have faith in the fact that those few who threw stones, and said hurtful things, they did it because Nicholas Biwott was a strong man and a strong institution in this country. Take courage in the knowledge that nobody throws stones at a tree that bears no fruit. They only throw stones at the tree that has fruit. Nicholas Biwott was a tree that had fruit that will bear for this country for many, many, many years to come."

Uhuru Kenyatta,President of Kenya (2013 - 2022)
Biwott earned a beloved and legendary place in Kalenjin history. The Kalenjin nicknamed him “Karnet” (Iron) for his strength of character – for never being distracted by criticism and bold focus on individual, institutional and community development for nation building. His abiding respect for others, wit, sense of humour and approachableness earned admiration and appreciation.

Suffering from the effects of end-stage kidney disease, Nicholas Biwott spent his last months surrounded by his family and friends. He died aged 77, on 11th July 2017, at The Nairobi Hospital.

His funeral service was held at AIC Milimani Church in Nairobi on 18th July 2017, presided over by the Rev. Dr. Matthews Mwalw’a. Such was the demand for a hero’s send-off to be given to Biwott, community leaders and clergy of different denominations and faiths organised an event to honour him in his constituency, followed by a larger memorial service at the girls’ school Biwott built in memory his mother, the Maria Soti Educational Centre. In all, more than 20,000 people attended these three commemorations of Biwott’s life, including President Kenyatta; the Leader of the Opposition, Raila Odinga; the Kenyan Cabinet, past and present; dignitaries from East Africa, such as the former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete; Heads of the Civil Service, industry and charities, as well as friends and thousands of constituents, young and old.

Long procession of cars escort Biwott’s hearse for 57km funeral route as school children are let out to show respect to their home region’s hero

Lasting three days (and televised live on six major stations across Kenya, such was the interest in him), the public farewell to Biwott ensured that, in the words of James Mwangi (CEO of Equity Group Holdings PLC), “in death, his life spoke loudest.”

A young Biwott, as a student at Melbourne University, meets Tom Mboya when he delivered a lecture on the “Emergent Africa” at the University in 1964

"We are here to mourn a great Kenyan, a very intelligent Kenyan. In fact, in my life I have met intelligent people – one of them was Tom Mboya and the other is lying here. What Biwott has done to this country is there for everybody to see. Here lies a Kenyan who has touched the lives of very many people. I am glad that I represent the Western Kenyan people from Trans-Nzoia to speak here in honour of a great leader, a great politician, a great philosopher."

Dr. Noah Wekesa,Minister for Education, Science and Technology (2005-07) and Party of National Unity MP

“Nicholas Biwott was forthright. He was very loyal. He was very dependable. He did whatever he did with determination, passion and excellence. He was a minister in several ministries. If you go to those ministries, you will find Nicholas Biwott’s footprints. Nicholas was a successful person, he worked very hard. He was not petty.”

William Ruto, President of Kenya