Luo elders to hold second burial ceremony for General Ogolla

Siaya Governor James Orengo leads a cultural burial ceremony for the late CDF General Francis Ogolla at his father's home in Nduru, Alego-Usonga Sub-County. [Isaiah Gwengi/Standard].

A section of Luo elders now want to perform post-burial cultural rites for the late CDF General Francis Ogolla.

According to the elders, the late Ogolla was a hero who deserved both the military and traditional send-off.

Speaking to The Nairobian, the vice chairman of the Luo Council of Elders Mzee James Ayaga, who led the elders and local political leaders, said there was a need to perform this exercise.

“We know that the late Ogolla died while serving this country and because he comes from a community that has its ways of recognising its heroes, we will conduct some burial rites,” said Mzee Ayaga.

The late Ogolla was buried on Sunday, 72 hours after he died in a plane crash, according to his will - a ceremony that defied the Luo cultural beliefs.

According to Mzee Ayaga, the military went against the Luo traditions by bringing the body home and burying it the same day.

“When a Luo dies, the body should be handed over to the family. This did not happen in General Ogolla’s case. The military took over everything,” he said.

The elder said the body should have been brought home for an overnight stay before burial the following day.

According to Mzee Ayaga, the late Ogolla should have been in front of his house, with the head facing the gate.

Even though the burial site was to be identified by elders, the late Ogolla told his elder sister Perez Onyango where he would be buried.

When the day of burial came, the “Tero Buru” ritual was performed. This consisted of the members of the community dressing in costumes and masks to chase, mock, and chant away any evil spirits from the burial site.

Mzee Ayaga adds that culturally, after the funeral was completed, the people dispersed by order of seniority and familial status.

“First the sons, by age; next, the daughters; finally, the wives, who often stayed for up to two months. This was followed by the symbolic head-shaving of the family of the deceased to both demonstrate the impact of the death and allow the widow to choose a new partner and receive an inheritance,” explained Mzee Ayaga.

On Saturday, Governor James Orengo led hundreds of residents as they chanted Luo dirges that praised the late Ogolla.

Donned in Luo traditional regalia, Orengo mourned the late General by carrying a spear and shield as he followed tens of cows in a ceremony that is known as “Tero Buru”.

The governor was accompanied by Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, Siaya County Assembly Speaker George Okode, MCAs Gordon Onguuru (East Asembo), Seth Baraka (East Gem), Obiero Otare (Siaya Township) and Susan Okwiry (West Gem).

For close to 20 minutes, Mzee Joel Oketch’s home - Ogolla’s father, came to a standstill as the mourners danced and chanted. Some carried twigs while others blew whistles.

“The late Ogolla was a great son of this county and we would like to accord him the traditional send-off that his status deserves,” said Orengo.

The governor, who promised to immortalize the late Ogolla by naming a road or facility after him, said he would consult with the family to conduct a traditional burial rite.

“We have elders from this clan and we are therefore going to sit down and organise for the ceremony,” said the governor. 


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