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Elders to organise special traditional ceremony to welcome Omieri in Nyanza

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Mon, August 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 5th 2018 at 22:26 GMT +3
Governor Anyang' Nyong'o with Director-General of National Museums of Kenya Mzalendo Kibunjia (centre) and the chairperson Kenya National Commission for Unesco Evangeline Njoka during a press briefing on Saturday. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

There's excitement in the air as legendary python nicknamed Omieri is set to return to Kisumu.

The remains of the mythical snake, whose death 31 years ago made headlines, will be a major attraction at a forthcoming national cultural festival in the lakeside town.

Omieri's return, just like its death, is the talk of Kisumu and Nyakach sub-county where it lived in the thickets near River Miriu.

Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya Mzalendo Kibunjia said the remains would be taken to Kisumu for viewing during a cultural festival organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The event brings together 47 counties. Omieri's remains, preserved at the National Museums in Nairobi, will be transported to Kisumu ahead of the festival set for mid next month.

Omieri, one of the biggest snakes ever seen in Nyanza, was 'worshipped' by traditionalists who believed it had mysterious powers.

They believed it was the goddess of rain, bumper harvests and well-being of the people of Nyakach.

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Lose temper

For more than two decades, many have been waiting for the return of the snake, which died from injuries inflicted by wild fires in the hills of Nyakach.

Former Nyakach MP Ojwang' Kombudo once lost his temper in Parliament as he demanded to know the whereabouts of the serpent's remains, which had been flown to Nairobi for preservation.

During Unesco's five-day cultural event scheduled for next month, local residents will have a chance to see Omieri again.

On Saturday, elders, activists and locals expressed joy over the plans to take the snake to Kisumu and vowed to organise a special traditional ceremony.

So special was Omieri that when it died, a condolence book was opened at the Kisumu Museum. Another one was opened at the Kaloleni Social Hall.

Elders told The Standard that the death of the snake shocked a region that had always relied on it during natural calamities like drought.

On Saturday, Nyandiko Ongadi, a member of the Luo Council of Elders, recounted how elders would offer sacrifices to the snake. He said that a lot had changed since the snake was taken to Nairobi.

Currently, the remains are kept in a cubic glass tank filled with industrial methylated alcohol at the Nairobi Museum.

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o praised the move, saying the snake is part of the community’s cultural history.


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