, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The 13th memorial of former Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa will be held on Tuesday at his rural home in Kitale.
Politics is likely to dominate the memorial, coming at a time when his younger brother Eugene – who is Water Cabinet Secretary – has expressed interest to vie for the Nairobi Gubernatorial seat.
Dozens of MPs and County Assembly Members are expected to attend the memorial, although reports say that key Western Kenya leaders like Moses Wetangula and Musalia Mudavadi may skip the celebration.
Wamalwa, who died of a heart attack aged 58 on August 23, 2003, was a charismatic and flamboyant politician who became Kenya’s vice-president after the National Rainbow Coalition swept to power in the 2002 General Election.
Born in Sosio, a village in the western province, Wamalwa was the son of the influential senator, William Wamalwa. He became head boy and the best debater at his secondary school, won a national essay competition and represented Kenya at a UN student forum.
In 1965, he was awarded a commonwealth scholarship to study law at King’s College, University of Cambridge, graduating in 1968 before going on to the London School of Economics.
Last year, during his memorial, his family had to retrace his final journey in London, United Kingdom, to fulfil a cultural rite that eventually reunited modernity and ancestral belief.
According to this culture, the spirit of the late Wamalwa was finally brought home and reconciled with his body after 12 years of intense pressure from the Baengele clan of the Bukusu community.
In a ritual referred to as khulotia, his family had to fly to Royal Free Hospital in London where Wamalwa died 12 years ago to bring his spirit home to appease the gods and bring peace to the clan.
The Baengele clan believes that when a person dies in a foreign land, their spirit remains there and needs to be urgently united with the body after burial.