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John Obiero Nyagarama (1946 – 2020)

Early life and education

John Obiero, the first governor of Nyaira County was born in Nyakemincha village, Nyamira County in 1946.

Nyagarama went to Nyakemincha primary school before joining Maseno School for his O-levels and later joined Kisii School for his A-levels. He passed and was selected to join University of Nairobi where he trained as an English literature teacher.

Professional career

Upon graduation from the University of Nairobi, he started off his teaching career at Nduru Boys High School between 1975 and 1976.

He was transferred to Nyansiongo Boys High School until 1978, before he was moved to Menyenya High School.

Nyagama was among the first to teach at Menyenya High School for four years before hanging his teaching gloves.

He focused his energy on tea farming and lucky enough he joined Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) as a management trainee and eventually became a manager in various KTDA branches countrywide.

In 1991 and 1992 he was the managing director of the privately-owned Sotik Tea Factory.

Nyagama took a break from tea farming when he joined Touchline Press Limited, a private publishing company, as its chief executive officer before going back to tea business. He established a tea export company in Mombasa in 1993.

The following year after establishing his company, he was elected to serve on the KTDA’s board as a director representing the tea zones of Marani, in Kisii County, and certain centers within Nyamira County up to 2013.

Nyagarama also served as the chairman of Kenya Tea Packers Limited (KETEPA) between 1996 and 2002, and was among the founders of the Chai Trading Company in 2011 and serving as chairman until his resignation in 2013 to pursue a political career.

Political Career

Nyagarama unsuccessfully contested for West Mugirango Constituency in the 2007 general elections. He did not lose hope. In 2013, he threw his gubernatorial candidature and became a victor on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.

Again, in August 2017 elections, he retained his gubernatorial seat after defeating his close competitor Walter Nyambati who had served as a Member of Parliament for Kitutu Masaba.


Nyagarama died in December 18, 2022 after suffering multiple lung failures.

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