Sheikh Omar Bin Dahman, a renowned leader and business mogul, has made the “Bin Dahman” family name a household name not only in Malindi but the whole coastal region. In fact, Sheikh Omar Bin Dahman was initially nominated as a councilor of Malindi which was in Coast province in 1958. His tenure as a politician lasted for about 20 years before he retired.
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History and Background
Sheikh Omar- Bin Dahman first came to Malindi in 1919 from Wadi Hajar in Hadhramaut. Hadhramaut also spelled Hadramout, (Ḥaḍramawt in Arabic )is a region in east-central Yemen, on the Gulf of Aden.
His late father was among the pioneer Hadhrami Arab traders in Malindi, who came and bought land when Malindi was going through an economic decline, where he established himself in retail trading and farming.
Life as a trader
On account of a booming retail shop that supplied the needs of the town of Malindi was a testimony of Sheikh Omar Bin Dahman’s efforts to change narratives. Impressively, this entrepreneur sought to bring a balance between the rich (Indians) and the poor. In fact, he used to import goods from Mombasa and sell them locally in Malindi to the African population and other retail shops that belonged to the Hadhramis.
Notably, his leadership prowess saw him interact without people from all walks of life despite their race. Ensuring that the government invested in the development of infrastructure, housing, and businesses to create opportunities for others to thrive was a norm for Sheikh Omar.
The founder of the famous Malindi Bus Service
Talking of investments Omar Bin Dahman was very influential and quite a success. This is without a doubt as seen in the fleet of buses he owned during the 90s known as the Malindi Bus, this service did operate in regions of Malindi, Mombasa, and Tana River. Ahmed Bin Dahman, a brother of Sheikh Omar Bin Dahman, was also one of the shareholders of the fleet business.
Service to the community
Sheikh Omar Bin Dahman teamed up with elders of Malindi such as Aliyaan, Bakshwein, Salim Baluchi among others in fundraising for the reconstruction of Jamia Mosque in the 1950s. To date, Jamia Mosque is almost a landmark within the Central Business District in Nairobi.
He died in 1984 in Abu Dhabi after a short illness.