Controversy surrounding the final rites of Kibra MP Ken Okoth escalated yesterday after it emerged that both the maternal and paternal families are yet to agree on the kind of send-off the fallen legislator will be accorded.
Differences between the two families played out in public as they gave conflicting information on where Okoth final rites will be performed and how it will happen.
Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, who met with the maternal family at a Nairobi hotel, said Okoth’s mother and siblings had agreed to have the body taken to their home in Kabondo Kasipul constituency, Homa Bay, on Saturday.
However, Raila did not come clean on whether Okoth was to be buried or cremated as it had earlier been reported.
Do as they wish
“The body will be transported to Kabondo Kasipul on Saturday. There will be a service on Saturday at Guteng Secondary School starting 10am,” he said, adding that the body would be given to the family to do as it was done to the late Kenneth Matiba. The late Matiba was cremated.
National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi, who is part of the burial committee maintained that Okoth would not be taken to his father’s place in Kochai village, Rangwe constituency, as his parents Nicholas Obonyo and Angeline Ajwang separated in the 1980s when he was still young.
“We don’t know anything to do with Rangwe. Ken has never lived with those people. Our position remains that he will be taken to Kabondo Kasipul,” he said.
Today, the body will be taken to Moi Girls High School for public viewing between 10am and 4pm.
On Friday, the civil society will hold a commemoration between 2pm and 6pm at the University of Nairobi.
Meanwhile, Okoth’s paternal relatives now say they won’t attend his burial ceremony in Kabondo Kasipul.
The MP’s uncle Chrispine Aseto said their presence in the ceremony would insinuate that they were in support of their former sister-in-law’s decision.
Aseto and his brother Raymond Mbai had on Tuesday appealed to the late MPs mother, Angeline Ajwang to consider burying the deceased in his ancestral home of Kanyachir, Rangwe constituency.
“We will not go because it is very clear that she has decided to disobey us and disregarded what the culture dictates. So let her finish the burial and we will not be party to it at all,” he told People Daily.
He said according to Luo customs, a son must be buried on his father’s ancestral land.
“It’s up to the person who prevented this to happen. They should be ready to face consequences of violating the culture of our land,” he added.
Council of elders
Luo council of elders chairman Willis Otondi waded into the matter and supported Aseto’s sentiments.
“If a bride price was paid and was never returned, then a male child should be buried in his father’s land,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Okoth’s mother said her wish was to bury her son at her parent’s home in Kabondo Kasipul.
“I would wish to bury my son where I can wake up every morning and see his grave,” she said.
“We have never seen anywhere in our culture where someone is cremated and that is why we insist that we will not attend a ceremony that is against our tradition,” Aseto added.