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Luo Nation and its sweet curses

By Joe Okore | February 25th 2019

The death of Kisumu Cotton Mills, Rivatex and Ken Knit among others that provided ready market for cotton farmers and the dwindling fortunes from sugarcane industry turned out to be sweet curses for the Luo Nation. This was tied to over-reliance on few industries and failure to diversify by various stakeholders from the Luo Nation.

It is not surprising to see prominent and well-placed members of Luo Nation complaining about the damning rates of unemployment and difficulty in securing government jobs for their children and relatives while forgetting that their idle capital could run several industries enough to employ and sustain their entire villages. Could it be impaired reasoning?

It is unfortunate that while the Luo Nation heavily invests in building ‘other people’s homes and cities,’ they have forgotten to make their homes better to attract investors to the Lakeside City. They have left it to be an ‘Indian City’ and Indian City it is, with regard to key investments. Other major towns like Nakuru and Eldoret are dotted with local sons and daughters with serious investments employing several locals.

If you may have been wondering about the economic worth of Luo Nation’s Political Chiefs, the Luo Nation Diaspora, the Kideros, the Lupitas, the Oliechs, the Olungas, the Wakiaga’s, the Otieno Odongos and many more, would serious investments by such economically placed persons in cheap labour zones of Luoland fail to yield competitive production in modern technological agribusiness, dairy farming, cut flower farming by the lakeside?

Would it not be wise as a political or economic chiefs to give back to the religiously obedient masses by investing in areas where most of them can provide cheap labour? Must the locals shift from the village to the city slums just to seek an opportunity to be employed in the various investments of the Luo Nation outside Luoland?

Take for example, the attribution of poor sugarcane harvests to poor rains and lack of capital to invest in irrigation and high tech agronomy, or the scale to make such investments pay off calls any decent mind to travel to Kwale International Sugar where the Mauritian investors who revived Ramisi Sugar currently harvest 60 tonnes per hectare on rain fed cane, and 140 tonnes per hectare on irrigated fields. Is right for Dr. Ndii to decry that:

The selfishness of the political class in Luoland in seeking their tumbocracies and dynasty continuity have made them underdogs remote from the challenges of the locals and as such they cannot play any key role in ameliorating their plight.

Strategic revival of the sugar industry by the Luo Kingpins which would serve to uplift the standards of living of the hoi polloi in Luo Nyanza by increasing the yield per acre hence increasing returns, lowering the cost of sugar, and creating more employment is seen as an empowerment of the masses that would rather make them independent and difficult to manipulate and milk.

A walk around Ahero Scheme and the Nduru irrigation scheme would make you wonder whether there are no agricultural experts in the country to see the water wastage and century old machines that cannot bring about anything other than inefficiency and poor productivity. Can’t technology aided farming along the shores of Lake Victoria minimize water wastage while supplying the Luo Nyanza with surplus food enough to sell to other regions?

Can’t the old cotton ginning machines be technologically modified to produce global clothing styles for the local supermarkets instead of some brands whose quality are a disgrace even to the supermarkets? The claim that the second hand clothes industry killed the clothes manufacturing industry in Kenya is no longer tenable; who buys the costly clothing in the Kenyan supermarkets what reason would stop them from buying such quality clothing if they were Kenyan made?

The promotion of Hobbes’ ‘man eat man society’ in Kenya where even the government herself disregards court orders has left only morally bankrupt to thrive stealing, maiming and killing at will if ever one becomes an obstacle in their paths. The spiral of silence that has made our youth to be resigned to fate is confirmed by their vulgar language and a culture of destruction and hooliganism.

If you need a demonstration, just pass by a Matatu terminus or attend a local match with your kid or wife and listen to find out if the language would be palatable enough to swallow. The moral rot seems inversely proportional to age. If I were to be asked the same regarding children, asked I would say that normalization of electoral pilferage in Africa, defunct election management bodies, incapacitated courts of laws, outlawing of canning has been synonymous to destruction of future generation; the morality of children has become wanting and the Church has gone quiet about it.

With the baffling, long the political tools of incumbents, legitimization of electoral and corruption-related atrocities by African presidents, international and regional organizations and diplomats who undermine electoral justice in their host countries as pointed out by Miriam Abraham, there seems to be very little left for the poor masses except the rising of a Marxist regime of poor masses ganging up against the wealthy.

With the handshake between Hon. Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, we have a good platform and environment to reclaim the reconstruction of history and the remedying of the evil past of our country.

It was disappointing that the meeting between Luo Politicians and Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited Kisumu, mainly revolved around issues of succession politics, unless the media failed to give objective coverage of the visit. What we expected to hear more were issues around revival of local industries, infrastructure, the plight of the fisher folk and the long standing feud with Ugandans over Migingo Island, and not what the media reported about politics of rudisha mikono.

Joe Okore is a Deputy Technical Advisor of a Kisumu-based NGO and a Communications Student at Maseno University.

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