• patricia tonui

Koitalel Arap Samoei who was beheaded for resisting the British

Updated: Jun 28

Koitalel Arap Samoei was born in 1860,in the village of Samitu in Aldai Nandi county in Kenya. He was the youngest of four sons and displayed prophetic abilities at a young age.He was a son to Kipnyole arap Tarukat

Kimnyole Arap Turukat, his father, was said to have predicted the arrival of the railway and Europeans in Nandi. It is said he saw a long metal rod snake that crossed their land. His prophecy was fulfilled by the coming of british and building of railway line. Turukat also foresaw his own doom. He accomplished this by making his sons concoct a brew. When Koitalel gazed into the mix, he saw himself drawing a sword against the Europeans, according to legend.



Turukat then sent his three sons to live with a tribe called the Kipsigis. He sent Samoei to live with the Tugen. When Turukat died, Samoei was sent for by some of the Nandi people. Samoei’s brother, Kipchomber Arap Koilege wanted to ascend the throne left behind by their father, which caused minor conflicts to erupt. In 1895 Koilege was defeated and he retreated to Kipsigis and became the first Kipsigis Orkoiyot. Samoei then became the Chief.

The Uganda Railway was first built by the British in 1896. The one-meter-long rail system linked the interior of Kenya and Uganda with Mombasa, Kenya's Indian Ocean port. The railways were operated by the British until 1929. The Kenya Railways Corporation and the Uganda Railways Corporation now own the company.



The Nandi territory was cordoned off, and the Nandi were on high alert, knowing that the British were on their way to conquer their people and use Nandi lands for their own ends.

Despite this, the British attempted to build the rail system, and Samoei led the 11-year Resistance. It took place between 1890 and 1905, and it primarily involved the Kalenjins in Nandi. Despite the fact that many tribes battled the British Army and their policy of conquering their territories, the Nandi are regarded as the most tenacious.


Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen of the United Kingdom then announced a "ceasefire." On October 19, 1905, at 11:00 a.m., a meeting was scheduled, Samoei sensed his demise was approaching and told Meinertzhagen to bring five friends and Samoei was to bring five oracles with him. Instead, the colonel marched with 80 armed men, 75 of whom were told to hide in the area.

Samoei, despite being told not to shake anyone's hand, did so anyway. He was killed by a close-range shot, officially ending the Nandi resistance to colonization.



Meinertzhagen decapitated Samoei's head and took it back to the United Kingdom to demonstrate his strength. Kenya has made attempts to have Samoei's head returned to Nandi for a proper burial. A symbol was given to his headless body and burial was done in nandi hills.

n 1919, Samoei's son, Barsirian Arap Manyei, succeeded him as Chief, a position he held until 1922, when he was captured by the British. He was imprisoned in Kenya until 1964, making him the country's longest-serving political prisoner.

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