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Sunday, December 06, 2009

The great Luo political Kitendawili Part 4

What does the future hold?

Now we have to wrap this up quickly because the weekend is over already.

We have said a lot of things about our Luo brothers. Many of the things I have taken courage to speak about, nobody has dared to utter in public before. The whole intention was for us to understand this community that I love so much better. When you understand something and especially its’ past, the future becomes clearer.

Why don’ we go back to that entertainment spot in Kisumu city before I summarize the political future of the Luo community?

The man seated next to me on the table was alone. I noticed that he had greeted several ladies and one had even stopped by at his table for a brief chat. Clearly he preferred his own company. But still it was easy to start chatting to him and I found that I could pop the question I had in mind much quicker than I had earlier anticipated.

“Do you think Raila Odinga has a political future?” I asked.

“I thought that was pretty obvious. This has to be the end for ODM and him,” he said after taking a long sip of his cold beer.

“Most people in this city will not agree with you.”

“I know. Let me tell you something. We Luos are very optimistic people. We will gladly look for possibilities in an impossible situation. The truth is that we do not have the discipline to plan and end up getting what we really want. You know I have just been transferred from Mombasa where I had two bosses a Kikuyu and a Luo. The Luo drove a big car and the Kikuyu drove one of those small Toyotas from Dubai. It even smoked and we used to laugh at him a lot from behind his back. There were many other differences. The Kikuyu man lived in Ganjoni in some dirty flats, and the Luo lived in up market Nyali. Now there was some restructuring recently and both of them lost their jobs. The Kikuyu stayed on and is doing very well with several plots in Mombasa and some small businesses. My fellow Luo is now in Nairobi and desperately looking for a job. One man was optimistic and did nothing to work towards his goals, the other was focused and didn’t care that people were laughing at him. Now look who is laughing? You see what I mean? Don’t get me wrong. Kikuyus have their weaknesses but the difference is that they have the discipline and we don’t. Pure and simple.”

I could not believe what I was hearing from this man and promised myself that his words would make it to my post (which they have).

So lets warp this up by looking into the future. In my humble view I think all indications are pointing towards the following future for the Luo community in Kenyan politics.

Firstly, like it or not, they will remain an important political influence in Kenya but will sadly continue to suffer from bad decisions made by leaders that the community follows blindly. The really sad thing here is that in my view our Luo brothers and sisters are amongst the most brilliant Kenyans. I know one or two specialist surgeons now based in the USA who are known the world over and hail from Kenya and the Luo community. (Interestingly the Luo always seem to do very well as far away from home as possible.)

The biggest weakness in the Luo community is the tendency for many of their leaders to make reckless decisions on the spur of the moment based on emotions more than anything else. You can be reckless but think things through. Sadly these leaders hardly ever think things through and it is not for lack of intellect. We have seen this in the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and more recently in Raila Odinga. Future Luo leaders will do well to make a huge effort to ignore their emotions and work towards being more calm, cold and calculating if they are to make major breakthroughs in politics.

It is important that the Odinga spell which has stradled and suffocated the community for so long, is broken. Many of my Luo friends agree that as difficult as this may seem, it is the only way forward for this community that possesses just too much untapped potential.

Sadly all indications at the moment are that in 2007 the community will find itself irrelevant and spectators in the unfolding of the new political order and the emergence of the third and last liberation. The only way that they will remain in the centre of things is if Raila Odinga survives to win the presidency. This is very unlikely and if you asked me to be blunt, out of question.

In my personal view Kenya will be fully healed the day a son of Luo Nyanza is elected to the presidency with votes from a large cross section of the country. For now it seems like a distant pipe dream but personally I see it happening much sooner than most people think. Possibly in the next 20 years or so. My hope hinges on an emerging new generation who are determined to make a clean break with the past.

A good beginning for the healing of Kenya is for the other Kenyan brothers across the country from the 41 other tribes to realize the great injustices that have been committed against these Kenyans and to publicly apologize to the community for them and open a new chapter.

Good job Chris my brother. You have had a long love affair with the Luo, you should have been one. But your work is all vanity. In the final analysis you lie, the Luo are beyond redemption.

I hope I have provided at least some answers to the big Luo political puzzle which you must have realized by now is a mystery that can hardly be solved by a few controversial posts one slow weekend.

As I pen off, let me take this opportunity to thank all you wonderful guys out there who kept me company through this weekend. I saw you all in my blog site stats right up to the long minutes you spent here and the links you clicked through to. I hope this was as enjoyable and enlightening for you as it was for me.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Anonymous said...

Great attempt at a very complex subject. I enjoyed reading it immensely.

Anonymous said... Joseph R Alila has left a new comment

Whoever you are, read "THE LUO DREAMERS' ODYSSEY: FROM THE SUDAN TO AMERICAN POWER, by this writer I will send you a few copies if you cannot buy books at

You are in fantaysland at times. The Killer of Mboya pointed to THE BIG MAN; If you were not born yet don't write in this column about recent Luo history (anything after Kenya's Independence).

You are right in two things though:

1. The Luo are not cowards. They fight their battles in broad daylight.

2. The Luo are "Wise People." A Luo does not start on a journey without praying (You may call that Magic). Luo Destiny is a prophetic one. That is why a Luo is sitting at the citadel of world power today.

But before you write about Luos again, read about "Luoness." If the late Prof. Odera Oruka cannot guide you, seek scholars in this area through Google Search.

JR Alila said...

If a Luo is not President in 2012, they will determine who is the President.
You cannot wish away a concept, particularly one rooted in history and called Agwambo (Unknowable).
We will see, but at the end of the day, Mr. Odinga's flag will be flying in Rift Valley. He did that with Moi. He will do it without Ruto.
Raila is a Prime Minister, and a Prime minister carries out executive decisions. He just did in Mau. He looks good as a leader.

Anonymous said...

The future of Kenya, and even arguably the future of the world, depends on the Luo. Never in the history of the world have there been a people with the temerity and mortal political-social mechanization and audacity to bring out change. Not to mention that Luos are reknown to be of great intellectual rigor and ponsenty. Watch this space. The white man did not stand in the way of Obama, who do the kikuyu think they are? The deluge of the unfathomable stunami is upon us ladies and gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

i have a totally different idea about what the luo community in kenya should do moving forward.they need to withdraw from cheap kenyan politics, its just too shallow, and concentrate on developing luo nyanza in terms of education, infrastructure and health.
leave the petty fighting to the kikuyus, kalenjins and kambas and the rest who want to join in.
luos should have confidence in themselves, they dont have to prove anything to anybody.
one more thing as i luo i have to add that the oginga family are power hungry selfish people who have brought only failure to the luo community as a whole.

Anonymous said...

It’s Ruto… No It’s Kulei. Oops Or Is It Ruto?
It’s Ruto… No It’s Kulei. Oops Or Is It Ruto?
It’s Ruto… No It’s Kulei. Oops Or Is It Ruto?
It’s Ruto… No It’s Kulei. Oops Or Is It Ruto?

Anonymous said...

Kumekucha readers, here is a reminder of the quality of work and predictions that we have been suffocated with in this "reliable" blog in the past. PLEASE, BELIEVE CHRIS WHEN HE SAYS ODM AND RAILA ARE FINISHED

Anonymous said...

i would hate to see corrupt people like uk, jirongo,ruto, etc to determine the future of this country.

Anonymous said...

kenyans should not let people with corrupt history like UK, Jirongo, Ruto to determine the future of this nation.

Anonymous said...

"The white man did not stand in the way of Obama, who do the kikuyu think they are?"

The white man CREATED Obama.
The Luo 'gene' was randomly obtained from a drunken, philandering hobo.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris for this thesis. I enjoyed reading it and must say that this was a superb analysis.

Anonymous said...

This all rubbish. Only two tribes have produced pork. Are luos more entitled than the luhya, who are even more in terms of numbers? Luos can go around chest thumping how great they are, but we all know they have a big inferiority complex. I have never seen a truly beautiful girl who goes around shouting how beautiful she is.

M-Pesa said...

In this very long essay about our Luo brothers that I have just finished reading, one very powerful paragraph hit me the most and is actually painfully true:

Firstly, like it or not, they (the Luo) will remain an important political influence in Kenya but will sadly continue to suffer from bad decisions made by leaders that the community follows blindly...

Philip said...

Why is it that whenever we talk of intelligent people we talk of Doctors and Engineers?

What about poets, musicians, footballers?

Our world up-to date has not been shaped by only doctors and engineers but also several artists.

Chris, would you please separate ethnic stereotype from reality. When you compare Luos and Kikuyus based on one event then will it be proper for me to compare Luos and Kikuyus based on the fact that majority of chokoras in Nairobi are Kikuyus.

Was it recently, like two Sundays ago, I need to check the newspaper again, that a government agency came up with results of their research which shows Kikuyu men to be having many mistress? Are you right and them wrong when you try to potray Luos as promiscuous?

AIDS among the Luo community was also not caused per se by promiscuity among the Luo community but it was caused by several factors one major being the inheritence of wives, and lack of treatment. If it was promiscuity then I could have bet that Holland should have had the highest number of AIDS patients. So I hope nobody, including you should use this as a reason to support his/her arguement.

Thirdly bad decisions should be separated from bravery. If it were not for the bravity of some of the Luo leaders then we could not have been where we are now as Kenya. Or what bad decisions did they make that I don't know of? The one bad decision that I know from a Luo leader was from one Tom Mboya who you are so fascinated with, when he assisted in writing a constitution that gave the president the imperial powers up to date. Therefore I would not wish you to continue hailing Tom Mboya as if he's the only true leader Luos had. It is the same that the likes of Oginga Odinda fought had. Was that a poor decision from them?

You know that the decision that Raila made back in 2002 has contributed to where we are now otherwise it was very hard to topple Moi. You know that it was during that time that tribalism in Kenya was at it's low point after a long time, which unfortunately Kibaki and his bregades spolit through appointing members of his tribe and sacking Kalenjin members.

If Kibaki failed to honour MOU and Raila decided to fight him was it a bad decision. I think you need to go back to the drawing board and think deeply about this.

Philip said...

Unless according to you bad decision are related to the final outcome, so that if one makes a good decision that improves Kenya, but the same person fails, then that decision is bad.

Martin Luther failed under the assasin bullet but he played a major role that benefited blacks in america now. Did he make a bad decision simply because he was killed.

Please go back to the drawing board. I may come back with more examples.

Anonymous said...

Sasa Chris,

You make me do the craziest things all the time.

I sat up all weekend (stayed away from the beach etc. etc.) reading a very boring topic... history of the Luos and their political future. But guess what? You made it so engrossing. It was torture waiting for the next part, kind'a reminded me of that soap on Citizen TV called Storm over paradise.

I don't know of any other writer who makes such boring stuff come alive like you do. You make me come alive Chriso.

Wacha I just toboa. I get wet thinking about you Chris. The truth!! Yet another of the crazy things you make me do lol.

I am sure you can effortlessly make me do a lot of other rather nasty things for you, ama? lol.

Keep it up bro but don't be such a tease. And lets hope you don't lenga me when next I flash you my smile. lol

Mpango wa kando wa Chris

P.S. Is that really a photo of you on Twitter? That ear thingy?

Anonymous said...

As long as the future of the Luos is tied tightly to that of the Odingas, then they will never ever lead Kenya.

Aletheia said...

Your facts are skewed.
1. First be informed that Luanda Magere never fought the Nandi but the Kipsigis - your geography should clearly show you that his home in Sidho, and the battle field in oduwo was in close proximity to the Kipsigis land (areas like Koitaprot, Cheleges etc) than the Nandi.
2. Your argument that some Luo ancestor from Nigeria, Uthieno, murdered his brother thereby leading to an eternal curse of the Luos is idiotic. How many people have killed their brothers out there? Why is it only necessary for this fictional Uthieno's murder to determine Luo destiny but not other tribes? Isn't this the same blog that has mentioned several times that Kibaki sacrificed his father? Why is it not worth a generational curse - going by your stale third rate logic?
Your arguments do nit meet any of the universal criterias for it to be compeling. It lacks in Logos (logic), Pathos (emotions, and ethos (ethics). You have no credibility whatsoever, judging from the idiotic way in which you conjure independent historical events (some far-fetched) to invent a history of the Luo. Whoever paid you for this be he forever cursed. I forgive you because I notice that you badly want traffic for this blog.

Anonymous said...

Am a Luo woman and I agree with what you say generally regarding discipline.

I have also personally observed that Luos, especially Luo men are quite disliked by people from other tribes, and are the subject of mockery and gossip at the work places.

Because of their bad behaviour, Kenyans from other tribes are usually unwilling to vote for a Luo as president.

The sad thing is that a typically Luo is unteachable.

Anonymous said...

@ Aletheia many people claim they know alot about Kalenjin in and out and they don't know that nandi and kipsigis are all sub tribes of kalenjin .I understand when Uganda soldiers were doing the massacre in Eldoret they were looking Kalenjins and the locals would confuse that they were not Kalenjins but Nandi and Kipsigis.
- ptor

Anonymous said...

Why has the Ruto-Raila affair, a storm in a teapot in my view, been reduced to a Luo affair. The Luo continue to be the stock that has to be scrutinized, stereotyped and ridiculed when it comes to national politics. When a Pokot minister, a Kalenjin upstart, a YK 92 cash machine (ATM)etc decide kick up theatrics to mobilize ethnic animosity it does not seem an issue. No one questions why the information minister is not busy carrying public information campaigns on important national issues, nor the Kalenjin minister discussing food security and the implications of climate change! Ethnic stereotypes are not a way into the future. Rather they are a myopic way of trivializing individual effort, glorifying corruption by declaring some communities hard working (patronage creates un-earned wealth, makes people look deceptively industrious). Kenya has the largest number of millionaires with wealth that cannot be traced to hard work! Stereotypical? Check.
It is wrong to constantly judge and stereotype a community. Every ethnic group has, after all, something so wrong in their backyard that others might choose to make fun of. Tolerance is a virtue.We can exclude frivolous rhetoric from our national conversation.

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