Kijana Wamalwa’s spirit ‘brought’ home


Kijana Wamalwa's spirit 'brought' home

The spirit of the late Vice President Wamalwa Kijana was on Wednesday night “brought home” to Kitale from London, 12 years after his death, in line with the Bukusu traditional beliefs.

A team, led by his brother and water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, travelled to London on August 14 to “fetch” the spirit from the Royal Free hospital, where Wamalwa died.

The delegation, which also included family members and the Baengele Clan, held a memorial service at the hospital before finally embarking on the journey for the ritual dubbed Khulotia.

At his Kitale home, clan members, politicians and locals were anxiously waiting for the arrival of the team, which came by road from the Kisumu Airport.

When the delegation arrived at the evening, a ritual to officially “receive” his spirit kicked off with family members converging at his graveside to carry out rites.

The spirit was ‘brought home’ ahead of 12th memorial anniversary to be held this Sunday 23rd at his Kitale home.

In late 2002, during the election campaign, Wamalwa fell ill and had to be treated for kidney problems.

This was apparently the forerunner of further illness because he was taken ill again in mid-2003 and was once again treated in London.

He briefly recovered and returned to Kenya to marry Yvonne Nambia in a colourful ceremony.

Just two months after the wedding, Wamalwa returned to the Royal Free Hospital for another check-up – leading to widespread speculation that his health was worse than doctors had been letting on.

He was never to recover. He died on the morning of August 23, 2003 and was later given a state burial at his farm in Kitale.

The cause of Wamalwa’s illness and death has been disputed and official statements from the government did not specify a particular cause.

Various Kenyan newspapers listed gout, a chest infection, or pancreatitis as the reasons for his illness and death.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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