By HENRY OWINO
His Excellency Dr Wilberforce Ottichilo Khasilwa the current Governor for Vihiga County was born on September 23, 1952 in Emanyinya village, Emusire sub-location, Central Bunyore Ward in Emuhaya sub-County.
Dr Ottichilo went to Primary School at Emanyiri between 1960- 1968 and joined Emusire Secondary School in 1968 to 1971 and later Kagumo High School between 1972 -1974. In 1974-1977, Dr Ottichilo was at Makerere University, Uganda as undergraduate student.
Dr Ottichilo then proceeded to International Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth Sciences, (ICT), Enschede, the Netherlands where he did Certificate in Remote Sensing Techniques and Applications, Diploma in Geographical Landscape Analysis (Rural Survey).
In 1981-1983 he was at University of Nairobi as graduate student specializing in M.Sc. in Biological Sciences (Hons.), Biology of Conservation and Ecology.
Dr Ottichilo was still thirsty for knowledge and in 1983-1984, he joined Colorado State University where he studied Diploma in Resource Planning and Management, Certificate in Ecosystem Management, Certificate in Agricultural Project Analysis for Developing Economies.
He also did Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, USA .The other areas of specializations were Certificate in Systems Administration at Prime Computers Education Centre, California, USA , completing them in 1985.
At the same time, Dr Ottichilo was a graduate student at Colorado State University between 1984 and 1986
As a graduate student, Dr Ottichilo obtained his Doctorate in Natural Resource Management and Space Science at University of Wageningen and International Institute for Earth Observation and Geoinformation, The Netherlands.
After studying and specializing in several of courses, Dr Ottichilo became the chairman of Africa Geodetic Reference Frame (AFREF). He was also a member of Global Spatial Infrastructure (GSDI).
In 1977 and 1978, Dr Ottichilo worked as research officer with Ministry of Agriculture. While in 1979 to 1984 served as Ecologist in Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
He became the Deputy Director of the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing in 1982 to 1991 with Kenyan Ministry of Planning and National Development Kenya. At the same time he was Remote Sensing expert/ Project Manager between 1991 and 1997 with FAO/IGAD.
Dr Ottichilo also served at Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) as Deputy Director between 1994 and 1997.Later on, in the year 2000 he joined Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) as Director General for eight years and left in 2008.
As the former Chairman, Dr Ottichilo is responsible for the ongoing of International Cartographic Association Working Group on Early Warning for Disaster Reduction. The other is as former Treasurer, he answerable to ongoing African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environmental (AARSE).
Dr Ottichilo is the current Chairman for the following Organizations; Centre for Self-Empowerment, Bunyore Investment Cooperative Society,Vision Africa and Environmental Information System-Africa (EIS-Africa).
He is the Director General at Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD).
Dr Ottichilo started his political career in 2008 as Emuhaya Member of Parliament (MP) under Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party. His first term of five years ended on 4 March, 2013. He then joined Coalition for Reforms & Democracy (CORD) in 13 February, 2013 a member.
He served as Member of the National Assembly from 10th March 2013 to 16th July 2017 for Emuhaya Constituency. The next general elections were just at the corner, 8 August, 2017.
During the five years period, Dr Ottichilo served in various Parliamentary Committees as Member. For instance, in 2008- 2012, he served in Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology.
Other Parliamentary Committee positions he served include Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee and Environment & Natural Resources.
Dr Ottichilo sponsored on bill on Climate Change Bill, 2014 that he is remembered for to date during his tenure.
On 1 June, 2017 Dr Ottichilo quest for gubernatorial seat for Vihiga County began. On 8, August, 2017 at the national election, he was declared winner under ODM party ticket. Since then, Dr Ottichilo has turned around the lives of his constituents in terms of development projects that offer solutions.
The next article would be on Dr Ottichilo’s projects on devolved functions and how the Governor is applying this knowledge, to make Vihiga County wealthy.