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Wamalwa’s spirit ‘returns’ from London 12 years after death

Twelve years after his death, the family of former Vice-President Wamalwa Kijana finally complied with the tradition requiring them to ‘bring home’ his spirit from where he died abroad.

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 he died on August 23, 2003.

The delegation, which included family members and the Baengele clan, held a memorial service at the hospital before performing the ritual known as “Khulotia”(bringing the spirit home).

Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) secretary, Mr Wamalwa’s widow Yvonne Nambia, his son Jabali, daughter Chichi and grandchildren Malaika and Simiyu were present.

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

When the delegation arrived in the evening, a ritual to “receive” the spirit kicked off with family members gathering around his grave.

“We carried items from the hospital which are symbolic of his spirit and we have brought them to his graveside. We had to fulfil this ritual,” Mr Wamalwa said.

A young bull was taken out of the ex-VP’s compound and brought in to symbolise his spirit’s entry. The bull was led up to his graveside upon which it was slaughtered.

Before this, an elder addressed the bull, which symbolised the deceased, thanking it for the co-operation in the exercise that was long overdue.

According to Bukusu rites, this ritual must be done for anybody who died far from his homestead.

“This rite must be conducted by the family of the deceased to appease the spirit of the deceased or else they will know no peace,” said the Trans Nzoia Bukusu Council of Elders chairman Peter Masinde.