When you first hear of a Luo cultural and festival event,what comes to mind is the origin of the ‘ujaluo’ in this tribe. Being a festive season, Kisumu city was so packed with events over the weekend. Luo Festival was to kick off from Friday to Sunday. Kisumu Family Fun Day scheduled for Saturday during the day and Vybz Awards at night.Kisumu festival which was to happen from 19th to 26th December.
Luo cultural and festival event was one of a kind,having united Luos from 4 counties in Nyanza :namely Siaya, Homabay, Migori and Kisumu County. H.E Hon Raila Amollo Odinga had the honour to grace this occasion,being one of a kind and the 1st Luo festival to be held in the Nyanza region.The Luo culture could not be what it is today without the ODINGA family.The county government of Kisumu had the great chance of welcoming the enigma, that is ODINGAISM to the cultural and festival event.The event had clearly planned schedule for Hon Raila Odinga to have meet ups with various stakeholders of the luo community.
However all these changed from Friday and the venues were not as they were earlier planned for.
-7am breakfast meeting with the Business Community had very low turn out,majority missed without apology.This leaves one to wonder whether it was a sabotage or the entreprenuers & businessmen were poor time-keepers.The meeting was postponed to Sunday,without disclosing the venue & time for the event.
-Luo elders’ meeting which was to be at Prosperity House at 10am, had a change of venue to Ofafa hall at 8.30am with a slightly good reception.The elders condemned gossiping on the luo political leadership, urging that some political wrangles be left for the elders to handle.
-The third meting for the day was to be at Kisumu Social Hall with women from the 4 counties.
The venue was changed to Tom Mboya Labour College. The women welcomed Hon Raila Odinga with so much joy promising him of how loyal women are when it comes to keeping their promises,which in this case was assuring him of women votes come 2017.
-Later he met luo community at Jomo Kenyatta Sportsground to mark the launch of luo festival then went to meet the Academia. However the meeting with the youths at Kisumu Museum ,4pm never happened, it was postponed without giving prior notice yet youths had turned up.This was so wrong.Sunday meeting with the youths at 8am,had so little awareness. As earlier planned Luo heroes & heroines we honored.
Highlighted points of emphasis included: everyone above 18 years to get national IDs and voting cards, learned folks to help in uplifting other less fortunate and intelligent members of the society, shunning of political gossip, women empowernment to be epitome & winning 2017 elections even if its through blood bath.
The whole event did not have so much LUO culture in it.Siaya, Homabay and Migori counties had so much to show off about the Luo culture than the host-Kisumu County.
Luo Festival had little impact on Kisumu’s economy, no touch on how the lake can be utilised to a greater source of economic growth.
How could the Governor of Kisumu (Hon Jack Ranguma) miss his flight yet he knew he was the host of the event?
How could the Member of Parliament of Kisumu Central constituency (Hon Ken Obura) miss the entire event?
How much funds were raised towards this event & did it match the outcome?
How much of Luo culture was displayed in the festival?
Was there a sabotage attempt?
The next Luo festival will be held in Homabay County which will include the LUOs from Uganda and Tanzania being part of it. The heroes & heroines will also be recognised.
If in deed the event was organised in 10 days, then maybe that is why almost everything was disorganised & seemed out of place. Shame on the selfish organisers who did not want to involve the locals in planning & implenting the festival. Hon Raila Odinga deserved better, a much more welcoming reception in his homeland backyard not a handful of crowd.