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Villagers flock Raila's Bondo home to mourn 'jovial and easy-going Fidel'

SIAYA COUNTY: A sombre mood engulfed former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's home in Opoda farm, Bondo, as news of his son Fidel Odinga's demise slowly sunk in.

Shocked relatives, friends and villagers flocked Raila's home as other political leaders visited to condole with the family.

Those who knew Fidel, overwhelmed with grief, wailed as others sat sadly and in disbelief at the sudden demise of Raila's eldest son whom most described as jovial and easy going.

Security guards at the main gate had a busy day welcoming mourners.

As one enters the compound, you notice Fidel's palatial house (Simba) which will remain unoccupied for the rest of its existence.

Inside the house lies Fidel's photos, some of which he had taken with Jamaican reggae legend Don Carlos. Other portraits in the house are of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, US rapper Scarface, former Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie and Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

Fidel is said not to have slept in the house and was to do so last December but this did not happen. His brother Raila Odinga Junior was the only one who went to Bondo during the festive season but did not sleep either at their home or his brother's, opting to stay at a Hotel nearby owing to the Luo customs whereby as an adult a son is not allowed to spend a night at his parents' house.

As the numbers continued to bulge, the guards controlled those who were allowed to enter the main house.

At around 11.30am, Fidel's cousin Albert Ojwang' addressed the Press at Raila's house, stating he received the news from a friend who called him from Homa Bay. Ojwang' said he thought it was a rumour until he called Raila's wife Ida who told him twice that Fidel is dead.

"I hung up and before long people started calling me to confirm if it was true," he said.

Ojwang', who last saw Fidel at Nyanza club in Kisumu two months ago, described him as a jovial and friendly man.

His grandmother Mama Susan Oginga said Fidel was a generous man who loved people.

A young man from Bondo, Edward Odie, said Fidel loved the youth and would support them in various ways.

"I am shocked. I feel orphaned as a youth who looked up to Fidel," said Odie.

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga said Fidel's death is a big loss to the county and the country as a whole, adding that Fidel had a promising future in the region's politics. Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo said the Orange Democratic Movement has lost a promising and vibrant leader.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti said the Luo community has lost two of its great leaders in Otieno Kajwang' and now Fidel.

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