Varsity don found dead in his house

Police in Bondo are investigating the death of University of Nairobi (UoN) history and religious studies scholar.

Prof Gilbert Ogutu (pictured), who has written a number of books on religion, history and culture, was found dead at his home in Wambasa village in Yimbo, hanging from the shutters of a window with a piece of cloth around his neck.

Ogutu,78, was an associate professor in the department of religious studies at UoN. He also once served as the secretary general and adviser to the Luo Council of Elders.

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His body was discovered by a farmhand after he took long to wake up on Sunday morning.

Police yesterday said that although initial reports indicated Ogutu may have killed himself, they have opened investigations to establish if this was the case.

James Oloo, his worker, told The Standard that Ogutu seemed to have a premonition of his death.

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“On Saturday afternoon, he took me around the homestead showing me the boundaries and where he wanted to be buried in case he died,” said Oloo.

After the evening stroll, the two had supper together and stayed up late, until a few minutes to midnight, before they retired to bed.

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Oloo, who has worked at Ogutu's home for the past 17 years, said the professor came home on Friday from Nairobi accompanied by his wife, Emelda Ogutu.

“He has been praying and teaching us the value of life. It is really shocking that he died that way,” said Oloo who described how he stumbled on Ogutu's body.

"At first, I thought he was praying because of his posture. He was in a white vest and pajama pants with his right hand leaning on a radio beside his bed," he said.

Thomas Achando, the secretary of Luo Council of Elders, described the scholar's death as shocking and expressed doubt that Ogutu committed suicide.

Had diabetes

"It is very rare in the Luo community for a man of his age to commit suicide," said Achando.

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Prior to his death, the academician, who is said to have been suffering from diabetes, had been admitted to a hospital in Nairobi. His family remains reluctant to speak about the incident

According to his nephew, Julius Okello, Ogutu's first wife, Jenifer Asayo died late last year. "He loved his family and the community. He initiated several projects at Wambasa Girls Secondary School," said Okello.

The scholar's brother in-law, Kenneth Ogosia, who met him at the Kisumu International Airport on Friday said he looked well.

"He was quite okay and I am shocked by his death," said Ogosia.

In Ogutu's last interview with The Standard, he spoke of younger persons performing roles reserved for senior elders

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The scholar was commenting on the symbolic dirge that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga performed in honour of former President Daniel arap Moi last week despite the significant age gap between the two leaders.

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University of NairobiProf Gilbert Ogutu