Maurice Michael Otunga was born in 1923 at Chebukwa, one of the many homesteads belonging to his father, Chief Sudi of the Bukusu in what is today Bungoma district. It was during the dry season in January, so his mother, Namisi, gave him the name Simiyu. However, his father, after much thought gave the child a name that was to point out the future of the man that was sleeping in this child, and at the same time, honour the virtues and spirit of the ancestors. Sudi chose the name 'Otunga', which means the stick on which the elderly and the weak lean on for support. Thus Otunga was to be a support for others to lean on. Young Otunga was strong and was a joy to his mother Namisi, a woman of strong character. As a young boy Otunga spent the first years of his life at the vast homestead before he was sent to school by his father who was very enthusiastic about modern education.