from: Ouko joachim omolo
The News Dispatch with Omolo Beste

Yesterday was a great day indeed. While Kenya was celebrating its 50th independent we were celebrating anniversary of my beloved mother Kristina Odin’g Ouko, exactly 1 year since she departed from us.

In his homily, the parish priest of Orian’g Blessed Sacrament Church, Kabondo, Homa Bay Diocese, Rev Fr Christopher Wasonga described Kristina as one of the few Christians in 19th centaury who resisted temptations of abandoning their faith to join indigenous religious cults.

Kristina received her Catholic faith in 19th centaury at the time a new religious movement known as Mumbo cult (Mumboism) founded by Luo prophet Onyango Dunde had a great influence among Luo people.

Prophet Dunde stated that the Christian religion is rotten and all Europeans were the enemies of Africans. Mumboism was considered as one of the forerunners of nationalism within Kenya.

Its followers were most active in the Nyanza region of Kenya near Lake Victoria. The cult began during the British colonial era in Kenya, when Mill Hill missionaries were active in the region.

In 1913, Onyango Dunde began to preach that he had been swallowed by a serpent in Lake Victoria. The serpent spit him out, and gave him a prophecy that he would spread to his followers:

I am the God Mumbo whose two homes are in the sun and in the lake. I have chosen you to be my mouthpiece. Go and tell all the Africans…. that from henceforth I am their God. Those whom I choose personally and those who acknowledge me, will live forever in plenty…. the Christian religion is rotten…. All Europeans are your enemies, but the time is shortly coming when they will all disappear from the country.”

In keeping with the prophecy, Dunde condemned European culture, Christianity, and the influence of colonialism. He also prophesied a golden age that would arrive with the end of the European presence in the region. Mumboism was popular among the Luo and Kisii people, but its influence spread beyond Africans who were formally followers of Dunde.

During the time some Dunde’s followers openly opposed to the colonial government and missionaries. One of the followers was Mosi Auma of Kabondo, the area Kristina was married. In Kisii region, Nyakundi of Kitutu, Omwenga of Wanjare was very aggressive to colonial missionaries.

At the time independent Republic of Kenya was formed in 1964, the minority party, the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), represented a coalition of small tribes that had feared dominance by larger ones, dissolved itself voluntarily and former members joined KANU.

KANU was the only party 1964–1966 when a faction broke away as the Kenya People’s Union (KPU). It was led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former vice-president and Luo elder. My mother Kristina was lead the chief entertainers of the party in Kabondo and Nyamira respectively.

KPU advocated a more “scientific” route to socialism—criticising the slow progress in land redistribution and employment opportunities—as well as a realignment of foreign policy in favour of the Soviet Union.

Although Mama Kristina never went to school, she was convinced that development in Luo Nyanza and Kisii could only come about when Jaramogi Oginga Odinga became the president. This was in 1969 when Tom Mboya, a Luo member of the government considered a potential successor to Kenyatta, was assassinated.

Hostility between Kikuyu and Luo was heightened, and after riots broke out in Luo country KPU was banned. The government used a variety of political and economic measures to harass the KPU and its prospective and actual members.

Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978 and was succeeded by Daniel Arap Moi who ruled as President 1978–2002. Moi, a member of the Kalenjin ethnic group, quickly consolidated his position and governed in an authoritarian and corrupt manner.

By 1986, Moi had concentrated all the power – and most of its attendant economic benefits – into the hands of his Kalenjin tribe and of a handful of allies from minority groups who supported his government.

Moi ruled using a strategic mixture of ethnic favouritism, state repression, and marginalisation of opposition forces. He utilised detention and torture, looted public finances, and appropriated land and other property.

Moi sponsored irregular army units that attacked the Luo, Luhya, and Kikuyu communities, and he disclaimed responsibility by assigning the violence to ethnic clashes arising from a land dispute.

Constitutionally barred from running in the December 2002 presidential elections, Moi unsuccessfully promoted Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta as his successor.

A rainbow coalition of opposition parties routed the ruling KANU party, and its leader, Moi’s former vice-president Mwai Kiaki, was elected President by a large majority. On 27 December 2002 by 62 percent the voters overwhelmingly elected members of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) to parliament.

Since then the political climate in Kenya has grown increasingly unstable. In November 1993, News Network International reported that over 1,000 Kenyans died as a result of tribal violence since 1991.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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Real change must come from ordinary people who refuse to be taken hostage by the weapons of politicians in the face of inequality, racism and oppression, but march together towards a clear and unambiguous goal.
-Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
UN Disarmament
Conference, 2002

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