Luo rituals that conflict with cremation of late Ken Okoth

The late Kibra MP Ken Okoth will be cremated in Nairobi in a private function according to his wish.

However, according to Luo elders from Ken Okoth’s family, the cremation is against the traditions of the Luo community.

Here are some of the Luo traditions which conflict with cremation:

Taking the spirit of the deceased to the former battle ground (tero buru): This is the beginning of the mourning period where cattle are taken to the deceased’s compound at seven in the morning. This ritual is performed only for a man and will not be done to Ken Okoth as his body will not be buried at his home. Chicken is slaughtered, traditional music played and the mourners cry and wail while throwing themselves on the grave of the deceased.

Spirit removal: Luo community belive that the spirit of the dead has to be removed by performing the battle ground ritual. However, as stated the battle ground ritual will not be done since Ken Okoth is going to be cremated and there will be no grave. The Luo elders believe that not doing this ritual invites bad omen to families such as diseases and unexplained deaths.

Grave digging (Kunyo): The grave digging is a luo burial ritual, which is taken seriously and is supposed to be done at specific time range. The digging starts at 9 pm and is to be completed before 4 am. Since Ken Okoth will not be buried, the luo elders will miss out on the burial ritual. Only middle-aged men can do the digging and men with pregnant wives are not allowed to dig a grave.

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