From: ouko joachim omolo
Colleagues Home & Abroad Regional News
BY FR JOACHIM OMOLO OUKO, AJ
SIGAMA VILLAGE-HOMABAY COUNTY
MONDAY, JANUARY 2, 2012
This week I was honoured and privileged to celebrate mass in honour of Paramount Chief and the first Luo leader, Gor Mahia Kogallo at his grave site in Sigama Village, upper Kayando Sub-location, Kanyame West location, Ndiwa District, Mirogi Catholic Church on December 31, 2011.
Born a famous Luo medicine man in 1797 at Sigama village, Gor Mahia was known to possess mystical powers. According to his grand son mwalimu Joseph Ogada, Gor was baptized Petro Gor three days prior to his death. He died on May 15, 1920 at the age of 126 years old.
To prove that Gor new about God SDA Pastor Isaac Okeyo writes in his book Adventism in Kenya (Africa Herald Publishing House- Kendu-Bay 1989): “In 1912 when we took one of our teachers Mr Samuel Dola to go and teach at Kanyamwa we met a certain old man called Gor. We talked with him.
He was one of those who used magic to foretell some future events. He was sone of Ogalo. He told us that somebody would come whose name is migoyi. Migoyi is one who knows his dwath. We then taught Gor about Jesus. He told us that Jesus was the Migoyi he had informed us about. He confirmed that Jesus knew his death. Among the Luo there were those who were able to perform some magical practices.”
He gave sites where churches could be built- some of them include Rapedhi for SDA and Asumbi for Catholics. When Gor was searching for the true church to embrace he went to Asumbi where he used his magical powers to turn into anti-hills and blocked the door of the church-this according to Fr Skefas who started Asumbi told Fr Gabriel Atieno that this was to attest Gor found true church to embrace. Gor then directed his family to embrace that church. Since then the vast majority of his extended families are Catholics.
Gor had mystical powers which enabled him to change from any form- a bull, old mama, tree, wild animal etc. If he were to be approached by enemies bees would come from nowhere for his defense—during the mass a miracle happened- at his grave site there were swamp of bees-but this time they were very friendly to us-it means that he appreciated the holy mass.
There is a mausoleum proposed to be erected at his grave site at a cost of about Ksh 5 million- it will include hall, office, store, and a wall mat containing his brief life history. Mwalimu Ogada appealed to good wisher to contribute generously towards the building.
The building would also serve as a library and a research centre where some oral literature about Gor’s life would be searched and published. For example there are several elders who have a lot about Gor but are not written down.
Presently there are some tools he used such as spear, animal horns, some clothing, etc, which are just kept within the homes of his extended families. A picture taken by German colonialist is present and was shown during the mass.
Senior ex councillor Akech Chieng seconded the idea and suggested that Gor Mahia club should be involved towards the project, however according to Ker Luo Mzee Meshack Riaga let the Luo elders begin the foundation first.
Some of his sons and daughters remembered during the mass included, ex-chief Joseph Ogutu Gor, Augustinus Nyamunga Gor, ex-chief Christopher Ogada Gor, Patrick Marienyo Gor, David Nybuche Gor, Vincent Asango Gor, Daniel Aroka Gor, Silfanus Oulo Gor, Oloo Gor, ex-chief Oswago Gor, Miyoka Gor and Ologi Gor.
Daughters were mama Omusi, Otuoma, Regina Mwanda, Otete, Mapil, Leonora Ogalo, Abonyo, Katherina Ngadho, Parasia Odhuno, Esther Onyiero and Marcella Oduogi.
The mass was attended by Ker Luo (Luo President) Meshack Riaga Ogallo, Chairman Luo Council of Elders, North and Central Karachunyo Mzee Nyandiko Ongadi, Luo council of elders Secretary, Mzee Adera Osawa, Luo council of elders organising secretary, Mzee Odote Wanga, Homabay governor aspirant, Mr George Opiata Ogada, opinion leaders from Kiancha, Kabondo, Kasipul Kayambo and Senior ex-councillor Akech Chieng.
Luo elders proposed that Ruma National Park, Mirogi University and Moi Stadium in Kisumu to be named after Gor. They also proposed that Gor foundation trust is started which will serve to cater for orphan children.
Luo traditional religious leaders, Bishop Richard Opiyo of Joka Ramogi Ajwang who claims to get his inspirational powers from Gor claimed Gor told to him recently that Luo people should marry many wives like Gor-he also said wife inheritance should continue.
He claims to be having charts with Gor very frequently. He gets his information from Ramogi hills inSiaya County. Also present was Paul Ogada son to Miyoka Gor among others.
Absent was grand son, Mr Silvester Ochieng Ogutu who would have loved to be there but mysteriously disappeared. Mr Silvester Ochieng Ogutu had some magical powers which he inherited from grand father Gor-he was becoming famous and somewhat feared by some prominent Luo politicians who have been yearning to get bit of the mystical power from Gor Mhia. He disappeared around Kisumu- his wife Magdalina Nyakwaka appealed to anyone who could assist her get her husband back, alive or dead.
This is the area where Fr Gabriel Atieno who made it to priesthood in 1940, making him one of the first African priests from Western Kenya. He was ordained at Yala by bishop Stam-he hails from Mirogi Parish where he is buried.
It is also under Mirogi Catholic Church that famous Luo polygamist, Mzee Akuku Danger comes from. Ezekiah Ochuka, the mastermind of the 1982 aborted coup against President Moi studied (Mirigi High School)- he fled to Tanzania when he realised that the coup was failing but was extradited and, together with Pancras Oteyo Okumu, found guilty of treason and hanged in 1987.
Gor Mahia FC opted to steep the name ‘Mahia’ in 1980, when the club was ordered to change its name as part of the disbandment of tribal associations. Abaluhyia FC changed its name to AFC Leopards.
Historically the original club was known as Luo Union FC formed in the 1950s as the brainchild of freedom fighter Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The club finished second in the first ever Kenyan national league held in 1963 and then won the league in 1964 with players like the legendary keeper James Sianga, Stephen Yongo, Fred Siranga, and Daniel Nicodemus “Arudhi”. In 1965 they finished second to Feisal of Mombasa on goal difference.
Luo Union FC had a major split in 1966 with another faction giving its name to Luo Sports Club (also known as Luo Stars). The split weakened the team and as a result Abaluyhia FC (now AFC Leopards) dominated the league in two years consecutively.
Some players opted to join Kisumu Hot Stars. These included William Ouma “Chege” James Sianga, Joseph Okeyo, Josphat Okello “Smart” and John Otieno “Hatari”.
The club was now unable to retain most of the good players who leave soon after their arrival in search of greener pastures or due to frustrations caused by lack of payment of allowances. Several outstanding players came and went within a year unlike in the past when players stayed on for several years thus building familiarity.
It was one of the reasons why Luo Union FC officials led by Mahallon Danga who had played for the club in the early 60s approached Minister for Economic Planning, Tom Mboya for unification intervention. The two clubs agreed to unite on February 17, 968 with a new name-Luo United FC.
The word ‘Mahia” in Luo describes wonder and mystery and that is why it steeped its name to Gor Mahia to naturally possess these mystical characteristics of the legend it was named after.
The early 1990s saw the departure or retirement of most of the players who featured in the crack squads of the 1980s. David Ochieng, Onyango Fundi, Odembo Nyangi, Ochieng Pierre and many others retired from active football. Austin Oduor and Abass Magongo left for the Middle East while others like Sammy Onyango joined other clubs.
Coach Len Julians returned briefly in 1991 and managed to steer the club to yet another League title. Among the players paraded by the club in the early 90s include goalkeeper Charles Omondi “Korea”, Jared Ochieng Achieng , Sammy Omollo, Allan Odhiambo, Paul Ochieng , Felix Otieno and Mike Otieno.
One of the clubs biggest highlights came in 1992 when they eliminated traditional giants Canon Sport if de Yaounde in the Africa Champions cup. After settling for a barren draw in Nairobi, most pundits had written them off. However they managed to force a 1-1 draw in Cameroun thanks to a stellar defensive effort by among others Otieno Zico, Paul Ochieng, Tobias Ocholla and Allan Odhiambo. This enabled the club to reach the quarter finals.
In 1994 saw a re-match with Egypt’s Zamalek who exactly 10 years earlier had eliminated them under dubious circumstances. In 1995 was a relatively successful year for the club as they won the national league title as well as regaining the Moi Golden cup in grand style. Players like Dan Ogada, Allan Odhiambo, Steve Odiaga and Tom Okaya spearheaded this campaign.
In 1996 was the most disastrous year in the club’s history. They were eliminated in the 1st round of the Africa champion’s league by Zimbabwean outfit, Dynamos, leading to the worst riots ever seen in Nairobi. In the League they finished 8th which was unprecedented in the clubs history.
In 1997, the club recovered and almost won the National League, only losing by goal difference to eventual winners, Utalii. Among the players who were instrumental in that campaign were Victor Onyango in goal, Josiah Ougo and Tillen Oguta in defence, Frazier Ochieng and Dan Ogada in midfield and Bonaventure Maruti, Steve Okumu and Steve Odiaga in attack.
In 2001, when Raj Binder Singh became the first Kenyan of Asian origin to became chairman of Gor Mahia there was a high expectations from the players that he would get sponsorship so that they could earn allowances. When this could not materialize the morale of the players went down.
Raj became the third club chairman in two years. His main brief was to secure sponsorship for the club. The sponsorship never came to fruition. This saw in 2002 the club going down as the worst in the history of the club.
However, in 2009, Gor Mahia sought to star a fresh. Coach James Sianga went about recruiting young players to build a team for the future. In came players like Ibrahim Kitawi, George Odhiambo, Duncan Owiti, Chris Wekesa amongst others.
Fr Patrick Lumumba Nyarombo of the Homa-Bay Catholic Diocese on the other hand recruited Black Berry, Otieno Fardinand, Roy Okal for Gor Mahia and Michael Boro for Thika United.
Ramogi FM senior Radio presenter, Mr Ben Oluoch Okello who was also present during the mass revives the club from failing.
Note: This is to wish all Regional News readers a blessed 2012- I am back to Nairobi tomorrow Jan 3, 2012- God bless you all.
People for Peace in Africa (PPA)
P O Box 14877