Dear Your Eminence the Ker of the Luo,
I pray that this letter finds you in good health and spirits even as you, presumably, grapple with the challenging tasks that come with your fly whisk and three-legged traditional stool.
I am a thirty-something-old Luo man, live in the city, have my six lower teeth intact and am proud of my cultural identity.
That it is partly why I have taken keen interest in you. I have gathered from the newspapers, for instance, that your team has been trying to reach out to your counterparts from other communities to make peace with their people following the hostilities arising from the political turmoil of 2007 and 2008.
The newspaper reports also suggest that your team is so concerned about the community’s political future that it has in the past opened similar negotiations with the aim of hammering out a deal that will ensure that ‘we’ will be in the next government.
May I take this earliest opportunity to wish you and your team all the best in your endeavours and hope that ‘we’ will thank you for your grand projects.
But the main reason for writing this letter is to draw your attention to the little things happening right under your noses but which don’t seem to bother your eminences.
The outdated practice of wife inheritance presents a serious threat to our community. In addition to condemning widows and their families to poverty, it is fuelling the spread of HIV/Aids and killing our people.
It also continues to expose the whole community to ridicule. I can’t imagine there is any Luo of my generation who read the story of Mrs Consolata Wayodi, the 70-year-old woman in Kaya Village in Boro, Alego-Usonga in the Saturday Nation and felt comfortable in his or her skin.
Mrs Wayodi has been living like an outcast in the village for the past five years. Her sin? She has resisted pressure to be inherited by other men following the death of her husband.
For me, reports like this undermine my tireless effort to enlighten the light-skinned ignorant girl in the city brought up to believe I’m a dark ill wind from the lake and her dimwit brother who calls me a boy about all the good things about our culture.
Your eminence, I understand many in your generation won’t get what I’m rumbling about. But they can listen to you.
Kindly treat this letter as a humble appeal by your loyal grandson to declare war on wife inheritance and spare my generation the shame that continues to follow us like a shadow.