The controversy over who is the bonifide Luo Council of elderslast Thursday chairman deepened on Thursday as a rival camp insisted the late Opiyo Otondi won’t be accorded rites reserved for Luo Ker.
Willis Opiyo Otondi died last Thursday and will be buried on March 4.
But speaking at Ofafa Memorial Hall in Kisumu which serves as the Council’s headquarters, Nyandiko Ongadi who claims to be the bonifide Ker said the late Otondi will be buried as a member of the council and will therefore not enjoy the burial rites that Ker should get.
” We have met here today as members of the Council’s executive committee to deliberate on how we can help with the burial planning,” he said .
And in a stern warning, Nyandiko threatened to take to court anyone who will claim to be Ker after the burial of the late Otondi.
He claimed that Otondi was a” political Ker” installed by Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
” We only recognise him as a member of the Luo Council of elders whom we regard as a great son of the community who served us well . He also greatly served the government as a civil servant,” he said.
” We will continue to meet and discuss on the best contribution we can handover to his family to aid the burial arrangements,” he said.
He said that his faction was the only one that was registered with registrar of societies.
Elders allied to Nyandiko’s camp who attended the Thursday meeting included Laban Raburu( Kisumu county) , Jane Midialo( Siaya and member of trustees), Erico Adoyo( Homa Bay and chairman of trustees) , Margaret Nyambok, Okal Chumbi and the faction’s secretary general Silas Olal
” We are legally recognised as the bonifide office of the council,” he said.
He asked elders who were affiliated to the Otondi’s faction to embrace unity so that they can steer the community forward.
” As elders , we would like to preach peace and unity. Let elders in the other camp team up with us so that we steer the community without division,” he said.
Nyandiko at the same time said they won’t be dragged into political issues affecting the country.
He was reacting to Raila’s call for mass action in 14 days if the government will not have addressed the problem of high cost of living.
” Our Constitution doesn’t allow us to delve into politics. We won’t be dragged into those calls for mass actions ,” he said .
Nyandiko spoke as an another elder Charles Andere who is pro Otondi said they will be having a parallel meeting to plan the burial.
” Qe are waiting for our team to arrive here so that we can have a planning meeting for the send off. We only know of Otondi as our Ker,” he said.
Indeed he spoke to journalists outside the Hall moments after Nyandiko’s team concluded their meeting.
The faction allied to Nyandiko emerged after the death of the late Ker Riaga Ogalo in 2015. Riaga was installed to succeed Koyo Opien.
Riaga, Koyo and Nyandiko all come from Homa Bay County unlike Otondi who is from Kisumu county. Otondi like Riaga before him had the recognition and support of Raila as Luo Ker.
On Thursday, Nyandiko said there can only be one Ker at a time.
” Tgise who are talking out there should know the community can have only one Ker at a time and that Ker is me,” he said .