4 Political Realities Luos Must Accept

If there is one thing I hate as a writer, it must be writing admonitions…having to reprimand a tribe or an individual. So, believe me when I tell you that I hate being the bearer of this message.

Luos, once very rational and hopeful, are today politically frustrated and disillusioned. Most of us want war, we are annoyingly arrogant and support alarmist utterances against imagined political foes. Things aren’t working for us politically, but instead of facing the reality, we’ve become escapists…always blaming our political failures on others.

More than several times, I have listened to people willing and ready to fight should Raila lose again. When some Luo leader isn’t threatening (in a public rally) to declare Homabay County a Republic, another is asking Luos to be ready to die for Raila this time round. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to Luos and our love for stone-age politics.

Promising hell-fire in the ‘unlikely’ event Raila loses, is almost becoming our motto. We have stooped too low to supporting every nonsense, because in such we see solutions to our prevailing political problems. Luos, though intellectuals, are so afraid of reality that they wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate the source. Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase and address us in the most direct way possible.


I’m a Luo by any definition of the word; a realist as we should all be. So, here are the 4 political realities Luos must accept for sanity’s sake:

1. Luo Isn’t A Superior Tribe

While  we are within our rights to be proud of our tribe and its culture, we don’t have the right to feel superior to other tribes Kenya. We are not a software. We are not a lifestyle. It is never a calling to be a luo. We can and should beg if situation demands. The ‘Jaluo oksechi to kwecho (A luo never pleads but begs)’ is at best dehumanizing for a slogan.

This may shock you, but Luo is just one of the 42 tribes that make up Kenya. It doesn’t matter who we think we are, our needs cannot be bigger than that of all Kenyans combined. We don’t have the right to force everyone else to think like us, to love our leaders the way we do. We cannot hold Kenya hostage…no one owes us anything. The sooner we accept the ugly truth the better.

2. Raila Is Not A Special Leader

Let me state clearly that there is nothing abnormal about loving Raila or admiring what you believe are his sacrifices for the country. Even according him unquestioning loyalty is not far-fetched, as it is normal in Kenya for people to worship tribal overlords. However, it is childish to think that Raila is a special tribal (who has sacrificed too much for this country) that he MUST be rewarded with presidency. The fight for democracy and freedom was and is never a one man show. Others paid the ultimate price, if you must be reminded.

Again, Kenya is a democracy; one only becomes president by garnering 50%+1 of the total votes. There is no shortcut, no rewards however much someone thinks he is owed. We can’t force Raila on other Kenyans because we want one of our own in Statehouse. Seeking the presidency for sentimental value is as awkward as it is useless. Come to think of it, what is that only Raila can do that he must be president? If there is, let’s share this unique attribute with others politely not forcing him down their throats under the “Baba will be president by force” motto.

3. Not Every Election Is Rigged Against Raila

Raila vied in 1997 and came a distant third. We all know he won in 2007, but Kibaki stole his victory. The rigging claims from both parties aside, ODM had majority of elected leaders at every level. Now, based on our tribal politics, a political party or coalition can’t have the highest number of elected leaders yet lose the presidency. Using the same rationale, you’ll see why Uhuru won in 2013.

So, to contentiously whine that our victory is stolen, even when we are too disorganized to organize credible party nominations, is a bad joke. Baseless claims of rigging of an election (5 years before it is conducted) can’t and won’t help. Let’s grow up, accept defeat, examine why we lost and strategize for a win…it is possible to win just as it is to lose! And no, credible elections doesn’t mean Raila wins! He can lose in a free and fair election…that’s a reality we must accept!

4. You Can’t Fight Your Way To The Presidency

Some of us are spoiling for war, ready to die and to kill to realize a President Raila. But like I said Kenya is a democracy and Raila can only be president through the ballot. It doesn’t matter how suicidal one may feel, we lack what it takes to tilt Kenya let alone turn it upside down. And who is it that we want to fight should we lose?…

Will we walk to statehouse and stone Uhuru into retirement? Is that even possible? I don’t think so.

Will we take war to IEBC headquarters and strangle the commissioners until they declare our Raila the duly elected president? That too is impossible, for holders of constitutional offices are well protected.

Will we fight the police, stone their armoured vehicles and heckle their bullets aways? That will be a very unfair war….

Will we attack our neighbours and burn their properties, simply because they (just like us) exercised their democratic right to vote Uhuruto? And who said they’d sit there and not fight back? What happens next…whom will we be begging to ferry us home?

Oh, we think other tribes will join us in our war against imaginary enemies? Remember the “AIBISI MAS GO” demos?Compare the demos in Kakamega, Machakos and Mombasa with those in Luo Nyanza and Kibera…which ones were violent and claimed lives?  You still don’t believe me?

Well, how comes all inciters only target Luo audience? Have you seen Muthama inciting Kambas to fight should Raila lose? Or Aladwa/Khalwale telling Luhyas to be ready to die for Raila? No, all the nonsense is told to the deliberately naive Luo audience, because only us can consume political dry jokes.

For a people that were begging to be ferried home through their enemy’s buses during the 2007/8, it is annoying to always ask for war. I didn’t see warriors in the slums we infest; people were scared to death, staying awake all the night in fear of Mungiki and going without food…we attacked no one…reality dawned on us that we are incapable of making real our threats. It was pathetic; starting wars we cannot win when peaceful solutions were available is costly and stupid.

My people, let’s embrace other Kenyans, show them that we value them. That’s how we will win..not this jaluo oksechi (a luo never begs) nonsense! And don’t forget, it’s never too late to turn things around and make Luos great again.

Samson Ogola
Samson Ogola has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness,” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for Founder of Raw Politics. Poor man. ;-). Anyway, I make sense for a living.

Comments 47

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  1. Ogola kumbafu! Wachaga kusema ukweli saan!. Is there anything wrong to be a Luo? Why should I apologise for being one? I will be proud till kingdom come,In anycasewhy cant I be respected for being who I am. Or should I become a slave of other people in trying to be politically correct? I will not do that for my own honor. I will never become someone's slave or be what other people want me to be. Gerrit??

    Jagem K'Onyiego

  2. There is nothing wrong in belonging to a tribe. We dont bribe or apply it just happens. Every tribe has it’s strong and weak points and that’s our beauty. The reason Rao will never win is his supporters and the blood lost for his cost.

    1. I am not a Luo but I have had great experiences with them Luo. In my childhood, I went to a primary school which was a mixed grill of Kenya. Though a local school in kilimambogo, there were workers from all over. Some were in kilimambogo TTC, others worked in Sisal farms and Delmonte ( then Kenya Canner). We played games together and made great friends. Then came my high school life where I met my mentor and greatest man and teacher to date. Mr. BO Ogange. I occasionally interact with him whenever I need wise counsel. It is in Kanunga schoo where he headed that I enjoyed great company of Luo teachers and students. The teachers made us and the students were our friends to date. Belonging to a tribe is therefore not a burden but a blessing. It is how sometimes we do our politics that frustrates our being. I can put it here for free, the tribe of the president does not signify tribal benefit. What matters is how we wade through the situation it does not always matter who is the resident of the house on the hill. Finally, if you want to be admired across the political terrain, package yourself with a message of hope. Work towards countering a feeling of fear among others that may be the brand of you peddled by your adversaries. Messages of hope must be key.

  3. Samson this is an eye opener. Our people must realise yhede and bang into reality.
    A time to change is now.

  4. Hats of sir! Saying it as it should be.i love the last sentence that has also proved to me that trump inspire u like no other.”its never too late to turn things around and make luos great again”.enjoy urself chief

  5. The narrative Raila will never be president originated from where Ogola, if not gimmick from the other political divide to advance their political game plays? Raila can make people’s president meaning all communities included, the elite knows that but unless the common man realizes that(all tribes) we will be duped in eternity safeguarding nyumba ya mumbi. Let me repeat myself this is guy we will regret our selves the time he will hung political boots and call it a day.

  6. Sam, congratulations for putting the new blog up, after the last one was pulled down.
    I like it: hard hitting, doesn’t pull punches, as raw as the url name says.
    A few more luos like you, and perhaps the polical landscape will be altered in luo nyanza once and for all. Yes, i am not from the luo extract, but i grew up in a metropolis with other ethnic children including luos, and quite frankly i root for the day when the luo nation will coin a phrase such as “change, that luos can believe in”. In my humble view, luos must change, because without change, luos will perish. That’s the bitter truth.
    That Luos seem not to have plan “B” should be sufficient enough reason to cause them worry, nay, they must panic. They must craft an alternative centre of power that will ensure they are not “orphaned” should anything happen – as it can – to change the current status.
    Lastly, Sam, keep them coming.

  7. It takes one who knows a people to tell them where they err. I salute you Samson for telling your folks as it is. I like your bravery nature.

  8. Best put from one of their own we don’t claim perfection as other race’s, but at least we take things as they come n whether good or bad we do move forward without grudge.

  9. It is as true as it can get. I would term it as a sad reality. Whereas there’s nothing wrong with belonging to a tribe and defending one’s tribe jealously, there’s everything wrong to assume that your tribe is special. Some Luos think they are special and superior to others, what with the ‘Jaluo ok sechi’ motif! Kikuyus too think that they are special, what with their constant comparison to the Jews!

    Different tribes in Kenya are unique, but none of them is special. We are all the same since we belong to the same human race. Tell me if there’s any species of humanity That’s immortal!

    On whether Raila will ‘ever’ be president, methinks that tired narrative comes about because of the way Luos are painfully arrogant. Other tribes, especially Kikuyus and Kalenjins are only reacting to what some Luos say, arrogantly, to all and sundry. Like you said, every averse thinking Kenyan knows that Raila owns the 2007 elections, that ‘unfortunately’ pitted the rest of Kenyans against one tribe. But politics is all about numbers, or isn’t it? So, to me, Raila or anybody else could still be president given the right political realignments.

    But (forgive me for starting a paragraph with ‘but’) again, does it really matter who becomes president of a country? To me, even a Pokomo can be president of Kenya as long as Kenyans electorate him.
    N/B. please read the text, Pride and Prejudice. It will shed more light on the question of ‘ tribal pride’ in Kenya.

  10. One more thing….luos now have the perfect opportunity to progress economically with devolution.they urgently need to shift their attention from politics to economics.forget raila, think peace and prosperity in luoland.

  11. Thats a superb piece bros! unfortunately majority who’re affected won’t accept it easily but all in all that’s the real truth you’ve just penned down and it reminds me of those gospel martyrs,(by the same do want to be one?)…..hahaha….nice time rafiki!

  12. Your Royal awesomeness, in this particular post…your appeared bitter and a saddist all together. From the statements, one can openly conclude that you are against Luo prosperity. Other tribes such as kikuyus and kalenjins have done the unthinkable to rise to power. You and I know that rising to the top leadership of this country is not all about voting, it is not all about 50%+1. The will of the people have been altered and compromised in almost all the elections. That’s the bitter truth.

  13. I have read what you have in your mind. Are you kind enough to tell us who or what has prompted you to lecture your kinsmen at this particular time of the election.

    From your writing, one may be right to conclude that you are either squaring it out directly or indirectly with some forces or individuals who may have hindered you from benefiting you in one way or the other and you are fighting back!
    Remember that wise saying; “If you can’t beat them, join them?”

    Samson, if you are a wise man as you purport to be, then you should join your fellow kinsmen as fast as you can or else you will be left out alone like some of our people who are now afraid even to visit their native homes! This is because they believed that they were more special and superior than the others and as a result they have distant themselves from the rest! This is now the prize that pride has rewarded them with!

    Today, they are acting as the mouthpiece of some people. Guilt has made them to be culprits of their own and they can’t face their own people who once adore them and made them enjoy all the rights one would enjoy when in the company of kinsmen!
    Remember, pride comes before a fall!

    I also wonder why you had to start writing by stating that what you hate is to reprimand a tribe or an individual while you end up doing exactly that! And what about that photo you have used in your article? Is it the right one to use if your main intention was to correct what ails your people?
    I wish you remembered that common say “think twice before you do.”

    No, Samson what you have done is to show that you are bitter man with you fellow kinsmen if at all you are a luo as you claim to be.
    I feel you should work on your attitude first before and thinking on lecturing the luo!

    1. I don’t understand how one can hail and claim to have fought for democracy and in the same breath demand to be President. Democracy cuts both ways.

  14. Nice article sir Samson Ogola.It may not makes sense to some people now but in future they will remember you for talking the truth.

  15. I don’t understand how one can hail and claim to have fought for democracy and in the same breath demand to be President. Democracy cuts both ways.

  16. Wow… This is really a good article to read. How I wish all tribes could reason as you man of the Lake. If all man of the Lake had such common sense, I think the 5th president of the Republic of Kenya would be from Lakeside. You have truly hit the nail on the head. While every tribe in Kenya has it’s own pride, I think Luo’s should use theirs to caterput them the greater heights.

  17. This comes in late, and at a delicate time, but let me say that your post will remain relevant as long as Luos keep their current mentality. Besides politics, there are other important things in life. In fact, in my view, these other things (economics and social life) are more important at the individual level than politics.

    Unfortunately, the Luo nation has been taken hostage by a political “powerhouse” such that anyone who attempts to shift the nation’s focus from this powerhouse or politics, for that matter, becomes an enemy. Odhiambo MacOwiti of Oigla (Ramogi FM) had initiated a discourse that, I believe, would have transformed Luo Nyaza into a formidable economic force. What happened to him? He was forced out of radio and blacklisted to ensure that his voice does not reach the masses. Another example? Raphael Tuju transformed Rarieda Constituency notably in a single 5-year term. Currently, he is considered an enemy because he fell out with powerhouse (I don’t agree with everything he has done since then). My former MP the late Orwa Ojode had already fallen out with the powerhouse prior to his death and was openly being de-campaigned in public gatherings attended by the powerhouse in Ndhiwa constituency. The reason? He was working hard to improve the lives of his constituents and gathering “influence” as he went along (he was fast becoming the de-facto leader of South Nyanza). Another example is Evans Kidero, who was forced to slow down and play his politics within the boundaries prescribed by the powerhouse (harambees were giving him influence, he had to stop). I believe more examples exist out there.

    With all these examples, I can’t help but wonder. Will things change when the powerhouse rises to the helm of this country’s leadership? I doubt. In 2013, immediately after presidential petition, the country witnessed a number foreign trips that yielded some funds for CORD-leaning counties. My view is that if such efforts were genuine, Bondo Constituency and the former Lang’ata Constituency would be models that every other constituency across the nation looks to match.

    So, while there may be hope that life can be better under a different administration, that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Luos should begin to focus their best efforts elsewhere. A Raila presidency, for example, will not transform Luo Nyanza into an economic haven overnight. The best it can do is to provide a conducive environment for people to create wealth.

    The bottom line, therefore, is that we should learn how to create wealth. With enough wealth of our own in our backyards, we will not entertain violence and destruction of property because we will be fully aware of the pain that goes into wealth creation and will not be willing to destroy it. I beseech you, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, open your eyes and realize that wealth creation is the only proven path to a good life, a life that matches our nyadhi. The rest is peripheral.

    1. George. You got all your points correct. A good leader is one who takes good care of its people. One who improves the living standard of its people. I don’t Just get it when one has been even in a position of high influence like Prime Minister Yet, his constituents could not even have access to taped water or electricity. Leave alone the time of being an MP. I don’t get it. Maybe someone will explain to me too like a young child, why there is no democracy in the home party (The ODM).
      We have wasted lots of time politicking. What I want to urge my fellow tribesmen is;Take this as positive criticism. Let’s involve our people in Large Scale farming and Cage fish farming on the lake-Agribusiness that is – The two will drastically improve the lives of the Luo Nation. We have swathes and swathes of Large and Idle lands lying Next to one of the World’s largest fresh water body fit for farming, yet our people are thronging the cities and towns looking for non-existent Jobs. Let us pressurize our four governors to invest in Agribusiness and also put into place a strong corruption fighting mechanism in our county assemblies.
      It is only through this and others you people will suggest that will liberate us from the yoke of politics.

    1. I am not a politician but the Luo leadership has failed their electorate. Raila is a national leader, who is in the high-stakes national politics. What business, then do MCAs, MPs, Governors, and Senators from Luo Nyanza have, following him around on his campaign trail, to each press conference, at the expense of leading the people that voted them in. It is time people realized that the best way to prove that an ODM presidency works, is by making a shining example of the regions in which they have won seats. Instead of hurling insults and threats at ‘other’ communities, lobby for Luo professionals, industrialists and business people to set up headquarters in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa bay, and Migori. Spectre International could lead the way. With the airport being expanded, tap on the expertise of the homegrown engineers and other experts to set up greenhouses for the locals to participate in horticulture. Flowers do not only grow in Naivasha.
      The Nyanza region is blessed with natural flora and fauna. Why can’t these leaders market the region as a tourist destination? Get a list of professionals hailing from each constituency, each ward. Find out what they can contribute to make the region great. A revolutionary transformation of the region is what would endear the rest of Kenya to vote for an ODM president. Whining and spending five years complaining about elections that have already gone is not doing anyone any good. In fact, the national leadership of the ODM could descend on say four, even five, or ten (if all will be impossible) areas where they have won. Put in their best ideas and showcase these at the next election. You couldn’t have great ideas and put them on hold just because you were not voted in at the top.
      The Luo should abandon their new-found arrogance and disdain of other tribes. In the past the community was so inclusive they assimilated bantu groups into their fold. Think Suba and Gwassi. That is the true spirit of the Luo.

  18. I find the article myopic . I see a frustrated Luo who feels he can’t fit into his culture. I see a reader who doesn’t appreciate how other peoples lifestyle. The 4 points are not out to address any real issues. Everyone has a nick name and if Raila is called baba, it shouldn’t bother you.
    A wise man always try to look beyond what you see in behaviour. The Luo people are frustrated. Period. That’s the issue. I don’t know if it’s by design or by fate. There are very few industries in Kisumu. No support on fishing industry except for the good work Kibaki did to take power to the village fish bandas. No support for the agricultural sector in nyanza etc.

  19. I know using words like “some” makes English sound cheap and silly, but desist from genaralising, you don’t know the first thing about every luo….

    oh and by the way, it is amusing that besides a few of your tribes men the only other group that seems to agree with your “sentiments” are non other than the tribe from the “house of mumbi”…. makes me wonder who is your targeted reader.

  20. I am a Kikuyu and I love Luos.

    I have always had Luo friends (some very serous) and there was never an issue.

    This whole Luo and Kikuyu conflict is manufactured by people seeking to divide and conquer.

    Don’t fall for it. Democracy is about numbers. Your tribe is just being played for the numbers.

    Be smart and think bigger. Think Kenyan, not tribal.

4 Political Realities Luos Must Accept

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