By Silas Gesiora
Two illustrious sons of Omogusii Wednesday night 20th Sept.
Joel Onyancha, the immediate former MP of Bomachoge died at Aga Khan Hospital last night. Onyancha was the Principal of Nyanchwa High School (one of the oldest Adventist institutions in Kenya) and rode the Ford-People wave to Parliament. That was back in 2002, when Simeon Nyachae, with his Ford People galvanized Omogusii and every Kisii voted for him.
Onyancha was then little known, and had trounced Zephaniah Nyang’wara, a very controversial, if objectionable person. I remember Onyancha doing his victory lap at my home town of Magena. He was unremarkable and lacked any iota of charisma. But beneath the plain persona, was a shrewd schemer, very ambitious man.
Speaking of the 2002, many Kisii of that generation believe that had Raila gone for Nyachae, Nyachae would have been the president and that would have saved Kenya Kibaki’s disastrous years that lay stage for the current government that has a 700 billion debt obligation against our revenue collection of slightly over a trillion.
Onyacha was always on the side of the government. In 2007 he was probably the only MP in PNU, and may be Jimmy Angwenyi. In 2013 he was in TNA when most Kisiis were in CORD. He won. Part of the reason Onyacha won three terms (once contested and he lost in a by-election), was because he came from the largest clan in Bomachoge. Even so, he was quite loved. I am sure he enjoyed more than 50 per cent approval ratings. He was great friends with my folks. H did initiate a couple of projects. I remember he initiated a water project in my village but it never took off because nobody wanted pipes to be laid on their land. My people can be stupidly petty where land is involved. A 2-inch pipe can be a big deal.
For his dalliance with the government he was appointed the Assistant Minister of Culture on Kibaki’s bloated coalition government. I remember attending some function he officiated at the Kenyan National Theatre. And nothing else.
The second person who died last night is Onsongo Omosongo, the most colourful member of Bana Sungusia, the greatest musical band from Kisii of the 2000s.
Sungusia changed the musical landscape by moving away from the stodgy obituaries masquerading as music from the 1970s to 90s. Sungusia played their guitar differently, lyrically they leaned more towards societal issues like marriage, domestic violence, the value of education and more. Their lyrics were infused with irreverent humour.
Their most famous hit was Egesagane Eke Nyaboke, about a man man cursing his estranged wife. He curses her, wishing her to be married to Kenyan men from various tribes who will do do bad things to her. A typical line on the song went like,
“May you be married by a Kuria man who smokes weed and beats the hell out of you.
May you be married to a Luhya man, who wakes you up at 6 in the morning to cook for him.”
The song employed every crass ethnic stereotype. Bitange Ndemo, then the PS at the Ministry of Information banned the song from playing on national radio. This was 2008 and we were still licking wounds of PEV after all.
Other than I am a big fan of Sungusia and I mourn Onsongo.
As the Vice-Chair of Omogusii, Facebook Chapter, I send my condolences to the families.