The late Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth’s paternal family has come out to oppose plans by his immediate family to cremate him on Saturday.
Addressing members of the press on Wednesday, the family led by spokesman Raymond Mbai stated that the plans are against the Luo community tradition.
“In the Luo tradition, we have never heard that when somebody dies they are burnt; that is not our culture. We have never heard such a thing, so we have got no idea about that,” said Mbai.
“We would not wish our cousin Ken Okoth to be cremated. It is against the Luo tradition and our cultural belief. It is our wish that they find another option.”
They now want the late legislator laid to rest at Amoso village in Kochia ward, Homa Bay County next to where his late father, Nicholas Anayo Obonyo, is buried.
The family expressed interest to be involved in the send-off plans for the late Okoth by the organizing committee in Nairobi.
Further, they stated that they are willing to welcome Okoth’s mother, Anjeline Ajwang, who separated with her late husband when the late legislator was young.
“Traditionally, as the Luos do it, if Okoth is brought here, then the mother is also brought here…to be close to her son’s grave. So we are not only ready to welcome Ken, we’re ready to welcome the whole family because the husband who had quarrelled with the mother of Ken is no longer there,” said Leonard Otieno, another family member.
“We have no quarrel with anybody, we welcome all of them and we’ll appreciate them to be here together with us, ” Mbai asserted.
A funeral service for the late MP was held at the Starehe Boys Centre in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon.
At the same time, the Orange Democratic Movement ODM leader Raila Odinga said that Okoth’s body will be moved to Bondo where a service will be conducted starting 10pm.
Odinga, who joined Okoth’s immediate family at Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi where final burial preparations were announced, stated that there will be another service on Thursday at Moi Girls High School, Woodley in Kibera starting at 11am. The public will view Okoth’s body at the venue.
The final service will be held in Kasipul Kabondo Constituency on Saturday before the body is handed over to the family for ‘disposal.’
“On Saturday, the body will be given to Okoth’s family to deal with it, just like we did with Kenneth Matiba,” said Odinga.
The body of former presidential candidate Kenneth Matiba was cremated at a private function in line with his wishes.
According to reports, the late MP verbally told his wife, Monica Okoth, that he wished to be cremated after his death.
However, Okoth’s mother is also opposed to the move.
“I am of the opinion that he be buried at Kabondo Kasipul in Homa Bay County, where I wake up and see his grave every day,” said Ms Ongere.
The mother says she is not aware of who came up with the cremation reports.
Okoth succumbed to colorectal cancer on Friday last week. He died at the age of 41.