Cremate Or Take Home In Shame? Plight Of Prominent Luos Who Die Without Homes

The recent death of academicians Prof Okoth Okombo and Prof John Oucho, retired soccer star Timothy Ayieko and celebrated news-caster Agawo Patrobas should be a big blow to our egos.

The late Prof. Okoth Okombo

In their own respective ways these three prominent gentlemen achieved all the accolades that any man would wish to have. However they have left us with serious soul-searching queries.

Prof Okoth Okombo was a top academician who pioneered the use of sign language. He had all it takes in the academia and when he talked other intellectuals listened. His speeches and presentations had all the finality that made others cringe at the thought of contradicting his facts. Prof Okombo was buried in Rusinga Island, Homa Bay County.

Prof Okombo was not alone, there are many like him. Just the other day Prof John Oucho another accomplished academician also passed on. He was the director of the African Center for Migration and Development. His CV is embarrassingly impressive. He was buried in Uyoma, Siaya County. No house no nothing. It was a pity comparing Nairobi and Uyoma.

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Agawo Patrobas was a pioneer broadcaster with the KBC English service in Kenya. He used to swallow his name so well that most casual listeners jokingly thought he was saying “ here’s the news, read by a gang of petty robbers’.

Agao Patrobas

Fondly also known as ‘Papa’, he moved to Ramogi FM a vernacular station under the Royal Media outfit. His profile shot up when he introduced the unofficial Dholuo dictionary which had new words never heard of before. His mastery of the language was impeccable and his love for Lingala music undisputed. Papa was actually a celeb wherever he went. He is scheduled to be buried in Nyakach, Kisumu County.

Also to be buried in the same constituency is Timothy Ayieko, popularly known as Tim Ayieko. This man was a national celeb in both Kenya and Uganda. Born in Kenya and raised in Uganda. He played for the Uganda Cranes from the age of 19. He was one of their star players when Uganda reached their first and only AFCON final in 1978 in Ghana.

Late Timothy Ayieko in blue checked shirt

Many soccer fans, including Ugandans knew he was Ugandan until Iddi Amin forced many like Ayieko to be ‘refugees’ in neighboring Kenya. When he joined Gor Mahia Luos and indeed the entire Kenyan media thought he was a native Ugandan. They were wrong. Ayieko died on the 19th of November and is scheduled to be buried in Wasare Village, Nyakach Kisumu County. In his day, Ayieko could wine and dine with the top most VIP’s in East Africa, thanks to his football prowess.

One common thread that lumps Prof Okombo, Prof Oucho, Agawo Patrobas and Tim Ayieko is the shameful fact that they leave friends and many mourners in burden and shock. They went to towns to look for fortune, they found it and denounced the same homes that brought them up and gave them a foundation. They all have no houses in their rural homes.

These prominent sons of the community literary stayed away from their ancestral home either by design, choice or intention and the trend is disturbing. Why are many so called VIP Luos embarrassing their friends who get shocked when they escort them ‘home’ for burial? How can this be corrected? A man is judged by the standard of the home he lives behind for his family.

The million dollar question is; Is cremation the answer to this embarrassment?

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Written by Kahawa Tungu



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