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ODM’s John Mbadi criticises Luo lavish funerals yet development is low

ODM National Chairman John Mbadi has accused the Luo community of prioritising funerals at the expense of development.

According to Mr Mbadi, the community spends a lot of money on funerals instead of using the same funds for developmental activities.

He says this is one of the reasons why the lake region is lagging behind in economic growth.

Funerals in modern Luo country are characterised by buffets, luxury cars, the latest fashions and other expenses.

All this costs a lot of money.

In fact, to organise a funeral for someone just known in their village, a family would spend more than Sh300,000 to cover some of the expenses.

The cost can be even higher, running into millions if the deceased is a prominent person.

Mr Mbadi said funerals had become expensive because some of the things that were done in the past, such as pallbearers lowering a coffin to the grave with ropes, were no longer done.

Instead, a coffin is lowered with a piece of equipment that is hired.

“The hearse used to transport the body has also been modified, with some having a trolley at the back where the coffin is placed. All this makes funerals expensive,” says Mbadi.

As a result, most people turn to friends for money when they are bereaved.

Mr Mbadi said some of the expenses people incur at funerals are unnecessary.

“We have not prioritised important things. We are too attached to funerals,” he said.

The nominated MP said a lot of people get involved in funeral activities.

Some of the groups involved in funerals, he said, are politicians who jump from one funeral to another.

Mr Mbadi explained that attending funerals is not a bad thing, especially for politicians.

“As a leader, you must ensure that you comfort the bereaved families when you have the opportunity. They are the people who vote for leaders,” said the ODM leader.

He said attending funerals is a common thing among politicians, citing the example of US President Joe Biden who travelled to London on September 19, 2022 to attend the funeral of the late Queen of England Elizabeth II.

However, he expressed concern about the cost of the whole process of laying a body to rest.

According to the nominated MP, he conducted research and found that in his constituency, Suba South, at least 43 people would be buried in a week.

In his research, he estimated that each family would spend up to Sh200,000.

“I found that up to Sh8.6 million is spent on funerals in Suba South in a week. This works out to Sh34.4 million in a month and Sh412 million in a year,” he said.

The MP said the money is three times more than what the government allocates to the constituency through the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

He said the same was true in other regions in Nyanza.

“I am not saying we should not bury the dead. But let us be modest in the way we organise funerals,” Mbadi said.

He also suggested that mourners attending funerals should eat at home instead of relying on food provided by the bereaved families.