Perhaps as a herald of a future stellar career in the legal field, Godfrey Hilary Oduor Awino wrote a brilliant composition while a pupil at St. Lwanga Primary School in Mombasa titled ‘The Bell of Justice’. His teacher, seeing such a unique composition in her teaching career, had to consult her colleagues in the staff room on how to grade the piece of work.
This finesse in whatever he set out to pursue would be the hallmark of Oduor’s life whether in academics or later professionally. Going through life with the nickname Mzee (elder), Oduor would leave milestone after milestone. Oduor who was born on 15th February 1975 , was the firstborn among five children to the late Shadrack Awino Ong’or and the late Rhoda Aomo Awino. He was fondly known by many nicknames; Mzee, OD, Godi, Martin and others are just a testament to the width and depth of relationships he formed with everyone from all walks and stations of life.
The nickname elder was a fitting description of the leadership qualities he exhibited from a young age from his primary school days. His pioneering spirit led to his participation in many extra-curricular activities and clubs making him get opportunities like participating in the opening ceremony of the 4th All African Games in 1987. After primary school, he proceeded to Shimo la Tewa High School in Mombasa before being transferred to Kenyatta High School – Mwatate.
Always the excellent student, he was admitted to the University of Nairobi, Parklands Law Campus, where he graduated with a law degree with the Class of 1998 (aka Makorrigs). Godfrey had unique and wide range of interests; always an artist and a poet at heart, his poems an expression of his deepest reflections only a few had the privilege to see, he had a deep love for books, his bookshelf a small library, his music collection could cater for all genres , he loved being in nature and travelling and would be in complete tranquility at game park, a lake or beach side, engaging his company talking about different philosophical concepts as he enjoyed the peaceful environment.
Born into a strong Christian family Godfrey attended confirmation classes and was confirmed at the then CPK Changamwe, later in life he would profess his Christian faith and would take all opportunities to encourage his family and friends in the journey of finding meaning for this life. Oduor had a stellar career in the Judiciary, joining them in 2001 as a District Magistrate 2. He rose quickly as a result of his meticulous performance to the position of Chief Magistrate with his last station being in Kisumu, having served in Kibera, Keroka, Kisii, Limuru and Nakuru Law courts, a lot of times as the head of station. The number of friends he formed amongst his colleagues and in his profession a statement of his professional etiquette. Always willing to sacrifice his own personal ambition and comfort, Godfrey followed in the footsteps of his late father when he had to put on hold a big part of his own life to take the role of parenting even before entering into employment with such grace striving to ensure all his siblings were well taken care of. Even with these responsibilities, he was generous to a fault and always shared whatever he had, giving both in deed and of his time to make others feel supported through all seasons of life. A stickler for social justice yet always a diplomat, he was always willing to advance and give opportunity to amicably solve any conflict be it from close family members, friends or complete strangers.
He met the love of his life, the Late Becky Mwangi with whom they had their traditional wedding on 9th January 2010 in Mukurweini. They enjoyed a loving relationship which was tragically cut short with the sudden passing on of Becky in February of 2015 as he rushed her to hospital after a sudden heart attack. Even in the face of personal tragedies, he found the strength to soldier own, always shielding those who were close to him, those who looked up to him, wanting to take it in his stride, even when everything seemed to crumble, he kept faith , a confidence in the things he hoped for, assured that he would see them, his only cry for help was to his God to remember him, not to forsake him. We remain trusting that our God is faithful. Today we celebrate a true son, a selfless brother who quickly had to transition into a parent, we celebrate a poet and an artist, a philosopher, we celebrate a husband, a colleague, a mentor and a loyal friend, the list could be as long as the people represented here. We celebrate a good man.