By Onyinkwa O
I once attended in Western Province, the funeral of a young businessman whose life had been snuffed out in a truly gruesome manner by armed robbers. It was decided that the burial rituals prescribed by Luhya culture and tradition for such a death, to avenge the deceased’s death, be performed, not just because it was unlikely that the wheels of the judicial justice system would deliver justice, but also because it was soon after no less than the CJ, Justice Mutunga had recommended the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for those cases where this was possible.
Naturally, this became the topic on our table, at the nearby town as we had dinner that night. Because of our diverse cultural backgrounds, no number of ‘testimonies’ from those of us from ‘West of Nakuru’ could convince one of us ~ from East of Nakuru ~ of the effectiveness of the move, who laughed it off as hogwash.
Then, we were called back urgently to the homestead, to take cops there, because the mourners wanted to lynch three young drunken ~ or pretending to be drunken ~ men that were found dancing inside the grave that had been prepared for the burial. Yes, the music was loud, and groovy too, but the mourners were concerned by the young men’s curious choice of a dancing floor.
No one was lynched there that night, but it would turn out that the ritual has one or two ‘antidotes’, one of which is for the offenders to dance vigorously in the deceased’s grave before he was buried, and another is for the killers to burn the grave. This being a grave matter ~ forgive the pun ~ i made a mental note to monitor through someone in the village, the lifespans of the three ‘grave dancers’.
A month or so later, my village contact sent me a message to report the demise of one of the young men. I forwarded the message to our doubting Thomas friend, whose dismissal of the effectiveness of that ritual has not dissipated yet, but is a lot more guarded now.
It is on that basis that we must call upon Jacob Juma’s killers to write their wills, and if any of them holds a senior government or political party position, to urgently recruit a successor.