Sikh monument irks Kisumu preachers

The storm was raised by members of Repentance and Holiness Ministry associated with Prophet Dr. David Owuor who claimed the statue was ‘satanic’. Photo/ JOSEPH OJWANG

The storm was raised by members of Repentance and Holiness Ministry associated with Prophet Dr. David Owuor who claimed the statue was ‘satanic’. Photo/ JOSEPH OJWANG

KISUMU, Kenya, Feb 8 – The controversial monument erected by the Sikh community in one of the streets in Kisumu has caused jittery among the city residents.

The storm was raised by members of Repentance and Holiness Ministry associated with Prophet Dr. David Owuor who claimed the statue was ‘satanic’.

The monument, erected on top of a rock along Mosque Road on a roundabout, has remained the subject matter in the lakeside city.

Pastor Helen Ochieng of Repentance and Holiness Ministry in Kisumu who led worshippers in condemning the monument said the statue portrays a society worshiping an Idol and it should be brought down.

Ochieng said as Christians they will ensure the monument is erected elsewhere not along the streets of Kisumu.

She asked the authorities who approved the construction of the monument to rescind their decision as its presence will mean doom for Kisumu people.

“Strange happenings in Kisumu are as a result of the presence of the monument. Recently we witnessed a stormy rainfall that caused massive destruction,” she said.

However, Charjeet Hayer, Chairman Kisumu Siri Guru Sabha said the monument has been erected to commemorate 100 years of Sikh presence in Kisumu and has nothing to do with religion.

“I appeal to our religious brothers not to view the monument as idolatry but a sign of peace,” he pleaded.

Hayer said they are celebrating the arrival of their ancestors in Kisumu in the early 1901 and nobody should associate it with idolatry. Residents of Kisumu now fear passing along the street for bad omen.

“Cyclists will have to follow longer routes only to avoid passing through that street. They say whenever they pass there, their business dwindles,” said John Omollo, a cyclist.

Police officers had to use teargas canisters to thwart several attempts by the youths to burn and bring down the monument.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who stepped in to quell tension over the monument failed in his attempt to convince Kisumu residents that the monument erected by the Asian community is a sign of peace.

Odinga visited Mosque Road on Saturday morning but received hostile reception from the irate members of the public who demanded the immediate removal of the monument.

“Listen to me, this monument is for peace and not ‘satanic’ as some of you have been saying,” he said amid heckling from the crowd.

He reminded the people of Kisumu not be pre-occupied with unnecessary things but talk about development.

“We cannot waste time here explaining the meaning of this monument when I have very important matters I want to convey to you,” he said.

Odinga then asked Kisumu county governor Jack Ranguma and the religious leaders to meet on Monday to deliberate over the issue.

The former PM said if it has to be removed then due process must be followed since the county government approved its construction.

Several times the former PM was shouted down as he defended the monument and cut short his speech.

Governor Ranguma admitted that his office approved the construction of a water mountain but the contractors added other images that were not part of what was approved.

He urged the Sikh community to adhere to the approved plan to avoid any misunderstanding.

Ranguma on the other hand reminded all the residents that every citizen has a right to worship in their own way as provided in the constitution.

“I want to request our religious leaders to spearhead the promotion of religious tolerance among the citizens of Kisumu and Kenya as a whole,” he said.

  • byhiselo

    judge not lest you be judged, let the TRUE JUDGE decide…peace

  • Can_123

    No doubt Africa is basket case. The people are totally intolerant and stupid, very potent combination.

  • MajorT

    Thank you Kisumians, Thou shalt not erect idols to replace the REAL GOD.

    • Kanu Singh

      have fun with your sad life

      • edwin

        unfortunately even mistaken people may be right

  • Kanu Singh

    the funny part is that in india the crazies just plain don’t like other religions but they never use superstition as a primary reason for any hate. these idiots are really stuck in the middle ages. they are a gift to the civilized world showing us that everything that came before was not always better lol

  • De Souza Robinho

    its a statute. work of art. In what way is it religious. just a pile of twisted mental.The car driving around it is more of idol for people Do people come to pray to the statute. No. so how do they thing its a statute

  • Natty Dread

    This statue appears more like a universal symbol of invocation than a Sikh ‘god’. It brings to mind the millions of Kisii stone statuettes one finds in every curio shop all over Kenya, but who am I to argue with artistically challenged Christian religious zealots and their followers? Technically, the monument the people of Kisumu rejected is more sturdy than that oft-abused tribute to Tom Mboya outside the old archives building on Moi Avenue.

  • Lucy

    Trust in your own self and do not judge others. Those who claim are very good and holy are just worse. Many of them are satanic in darkness and in the day light, they are in churches preaching, Come on people. Just give us a break. Stop pretending

  • simba

    holyyy even baboons wouldnt complain

  • David

    The sculptor, Oshoto Ondula, who built the abstract sculpture clearly said “it has no influence to religion, faith or anybodys culture”. He went on further to say that the statue isn’t a god, and simply depicts a man praying to god. Sikhs don’t believe in idol worship and it is strictly forbidden in their religion. This sculpture was simply a symbol of peace and was misinterpreted to be a god. Sikhs believe in one god and there are no images or statues of god. He is omnipresent. Sikhism is a completely different religion from Hinduism. .

  • JK2020

    Wow Kenyans are thick as two short planks. Sikhs do not do idol worship. Educating the savages did not work did it?