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Abatachoni (Tachon) provide a unique study into how tribes evolve through the process of ethnic assimilation and amalgamation. Originally thought to have originated from Egypt (along other Kalenjin sub nations), the Tachon were once the dominant tribe in the area around Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu. They were masters at building forts (Chetambe and Lumboka) which they somehow lost to bands of invading Bukusu.  The history of Abatachoni has always baffled, even eluded Luhya historians like Prof Gideon Were and Dr John Osogo whose account has now been challenged by a new study entitled: Tachon Peoples – History, Culture and Economy by Demmahom Olovodes Lihraw.  

According to Lihraw, the Tachon were the original Kitoki (corrupted to Kitosh by the British) people who took in roaming bands of what came to be known as the Bukusu as herds boys. Lihraw blames the colonial administration for having embarked on a process of exterminating the Tachon through rule and divide policy. When the British introduced indirect rule, they did not appoint a Tachon to rule over the Tachon but used Wanga and Kabras (Kapras) chiefs.

At what point the Tachoni lost the Kalenijin tongue is not clear although Prof Were estimates to be somewhere around the 16th century. Olutachoni, the language of the Tachoni is a cross breed between Olubukusu and Olukabras. Earlier historians attributed the evolution of the Tachoni as a product of the inter-tribal marriages between Bukusu and Abangoma (Bongomek), a Nilo-Hamitic Kalenjin tribe.

Legend has it that the Bukusu intermarried in large numbers with the Kalenjin when they lived at Ebwayi (present day Amukura) and Mwalie in Malakisi. They called the offspring from these intertribal unions Yumbu (Wolf pp 308), believed to be the ancestors of Abatachoni which, in Kalenjin language means 'those who went or left'. With time, the Kalenjin language of the Yumbu disappeared and was replaced with a Bukusu dialect which later evolved into olutachoni. Besides intermarriages, Bukusu and Elgon Maasai lived as uneasy neighbors frequently raiding each other. While the warlike Elgon Maasai captured boys to enlist as warriors, the Bukusu seized women who later became wives (babeche mung'abo). It is thought that the Tachoni, as a sub nation, originated from this symbiosis.

Their ancestor is given as Kiborit who lived at Sibot Hill and Kitale eleven generations ago and settled at Malakisi in Bungoma about eight generations ago (Gideon Were). Abatachoni are spread across at least four districts – Kakamega North, Lugari, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and the newly created district of Bungoma East in areas around Chetambe Hills, Ndivisi and parts of Kimilili, Webuye and Bokoli locations. More...