- Areas where he spearheaded the purchase of land included Keringet, Sirikwa, Kirobon and Simboyon.
- Many will greatly remember him for ensuring they own a piece of land in the cosmopolitan county.
- Former Molo MP Njenga Mungai described the late Komen as a “straightforward, nationalist and patriotic politician”.
- He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Komen and 10 children.
A mention of the name Willy Komen in Nakuru West Constituency and specifically Barut, Kwa Ronda and Kapkures may not ring a bell.
But unknown to the bustling population, probably one of the highest in Nakuru town, is that they owe their settlement to the fallen veteran politician.
Mr Komen, 77, who died on Saturday, was a quiet politician but a shrewd entrepreneur who mobilised the Kalenjin community in the early 1970s and 1980s to buy land from the white settlers in Nakuru.
And through his efforts, the Kalenjin Enterprise, whose chairman was his late father Kibowen Komen, bought land in Nakuru town, Subukia, and Rongai and settled thousands of members of his community.
Other areas where he spearheaded the purchase of land included Keringet, Sirikwa, Kirobon and Simboyon.
This was probably one of the greatest unifications of the community outside President Daniel arap Moi’s powers and is today regarded as the most unifying factor for the community in Nakuru County and in Rift Valley at large.
Many of the members of the Kalenjin community will greatly remember him for ensuring they own a piece of land in the cosmopolitan county.
“His ability to mobilise the Kalenjin community, irrespective of their clans and political affiliation, has made the community to be proud land owners in Nakuru County,” said Mr Samuel Towett, a former mayor of Nakuru in the early 1980s.
Mr Towet described Mr Komen as a visionary leader who seized the opportunity to ensure the community was not reduced to squatters after the white man left the country.
“His was one of the greatest achievements that many Kalenjins in Nakuru county will remember as they had no hope in the early 1960s and 1970s of acquiring land but through his leadership and that of his father Kibowen, they managed to bring hope to the community,” said Mr Towet.
And in the political front, his contemporaries remember him as a humble politician and a peace maker who did not mind working with the opposition despite the fact that he was elected MP on a Kanu ticket, which was the ruling party.
“He was a quiet politician without a lot of political noise but he had deep conviction for peace in the Rift Valley as he strongly believed in unification of all communities in the Rift Valley,” said former Eldoret South MP Joseph Misoi.
Dr Misoi represented Eldoret South between 1988 and 1997 which was the epicentre of ethnic clashes.
“He was an assistant minister for Labour and I remember him as very effective and well informed and easy to work with,” said Dr Misoi in a telephone interview.