By Dorcas Sarkozy
What is it about luo men that either makes them society’s marked men or subject for scrutiny and in most cases, earns them tight leashes around the necks? Its true that a typical luo man exudes the confidence of a giant and walks in measured strides. But there is more to luo men than the physical. Blessed with the gift of the gab and the tyranny of brains, luo men excel in any contest where the rules of the game favor none. Simply put, level the playing field in any contest and watch a luo man clean your clock!
It’s for this reason that this special species has seen its fair share of assassinations, disrespect, electoral chicanery and thievery, intimidation and institutional discrimination. This unique concoction of wits, style and eloquence has landed this breed on the biggest podia and stages with the high and mighty and when called upon to shine, it has never disappointed.
These attributes ushered the mighty Tom Mboya to the world and he conquered, these traits, earned another intellectual powerhouse, Dr Robert Ouko international accolades, the very attributes, plunged the then Senator Barack Obama on the world stage and he ran away with it! He is now the most powerful human being in the world.
In academia, the luo men occupy many positions as departmental heads and senior lecturers imparting knowledge to students. In business, many distinguished luo men have served in senior leadership positions in various companies. KCB was once headed by Martin Otieno Oduor, a man who served with distinction as Head of Finance at Barcalys Bank before being appointed PS at the Treasury under the World Bank’s ‘Dream Team’ SAP programs to come and rescue Kenya from economic abyss of the nineties.
So the story of the luo man is complex and quite frankly, a mixed bag. Those very positive and laudable characteristics that endear them to the masses, counterproductively earn them condemnation and jealous co-workers, assassination and discrimination.
Unfortunately, in some spheres, striving for the greater good is strictly forbidden. Playing by the book, sometimes, can lead to dismissal or elimination.
The late Robert Ouko was assassinated because of his eloquence. Nevermind that he was in the US in his capacity as the country’s top diplomat. Tom Mboya has to go because he was bound to be President. Apparently, being too good at what you do to an extent that the people see you as a heir apparent to the throne is not good for a luo man’s health.
The intellectual brainchild of devolution in Kenya, the late Dr Stephen Odhiambo Mbai, had to go because he was seen as RAO’s key advisor on matters devolution at a time when some people wanted a customized Constitution. He had to go. Many others have either been frustrated to death or just rendered jobless in order to take away their dignity. Barack Obama senior reportedly drunk himself senseless once he learnt that as good of an economist as he was, the powers that be gave the CBK Governor’s job to a less qualified individual who belonged to the ruling tribe. He vowed to oppose the system forever.
Others were simply detained with zero regard to habeas corpus. Raila Odinga is exhibit A. Detainee for a decade and then endured electoral thievery in broad day light. To make matters worse, he had to watch, helplessly, when the state police were using young luo men in Kisumu for target practice with live bullets. TV footage captured cops chasing and shooting young luo man like flies. It’s as if killing luo men is a sport.
But despite all the tribulations, the average luo man stands tall with his head held up high knowing that in doing so, he is in compliance with Fredrick Douglass’s timeless quote: ” knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.”