The mystery behind prime land with rusty roof

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 00:00 |
A lone roof on the ground. Part of the owner’s house. Photo/PD/ADALLA ALLAN

Adalla Allan @adalla_allan 

Along the Kisumu-Busia highway at Tiengre K’Orando village in Kisumu county, a bizarre spectacle awaits you.

A seemingly submerged house with a rusty roof is the focus of the unfenced prime piece of land.

Often, one would find the villager’s herds of cattle grazing away and might even think it is an abandomed area or a place specifically set aside for villagers to unwind.  

The roof has been there for nearly seven years now, raising questions and interest in residents living in these parts of the country and those that frequently use the highway.

And as mysteries wont to do, it evoked creation of stories about what may have happened in the area. These stories have found their way on social media.

Silas Ochieng Agoo, the nephew to the deceased landowner, Barrack Ogada Ouko, narrates events that led to the prime property’s current state.

He says it was their ancestral land before his uncle inherited it. Although doing a land search reveals his grandfather, Francis Agoo, still appears as the owner, he had granted it to his son.

“My uncle had started negotiations to sell a piece of the land to Fred Omido from Seme, Kisumu county whom we all knew as he would often come here, but they were still in the process.

Part of the owner’s house. Photo/PD/ADALLA ALLAN

At the same time, a certain Onunga Ogutu from Sakwa, Bondo sub-county was also eyeing the land. He came and paid only Sh8,000.

Sadly, Uncle Barrack died while they were still negotiating. He was working at Tinderet in Nandi county then,” Silas says. No one knows for how much Barrack wanted to sell the land.

The genesis

Problems started when Barrack’s family decided to bury him on the land.

“After arranging for the burial, we brought Barrack’s body from the morgue and held a successful night vigil.

On the morning of the burial, scheduled on Madaraka Day in 2014, we saw fire. Onunga came with police and several cars claiming we cannot bury the body on a land he had just purchased.

They destroyed everything we had set up and cleared away the crowd that had gathered for the burial,” Silas narrates. 

After the controversy, Onunga and his people took away the coffin to an unknown place.

Later, they learnt that the body was taken back to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral Hospital, also known as Russia, mortuary and had to take the matter to court hoping for justice.

In 2015, the ruling was made in favour of the family allowing them to bury the body.

“A year after the burial was interrupted, we arranged to bury the body. The morgue bills had risen to over Sh400,000, which we struggled to clear.

After a successful burial, Onunga, who still claimed the land, came three months later with the police and goons, exhumed the body, destroyed property, demolished the house and brought the roof to this place.

They went with the body back to Russia. The defendant then appealed the case. That is why the body is still in the morgue to date, and the land left as it is,” Silas lets out.  

According to Sarah Changalwa, a psychologist at Mental Serene hub, for most African communities it is vital to lay the deceased to rest on the ancestral land or the rural homes of the deceased for them to rest in peace.

As such, the spirit of the deceased would not haunt the living for failing to give them the ideal last respects.

“In traditional African communities, death is defined as a rite of passage that marks a transition from being mortal to being an ancestral spirit in a new generation, contrary to the biological belief that it is the ultimate end of life.

Death, being a transitional stage and rite is treated with rituals customised to different cultural settings,” Sarah says. 

In many cases, Sarah adds, ancestoral land helps reserve the identity and relevance of the deceased and to remind later generations of those that preceded them.

Based on cultural believes, ancestral lands are an ideal ground where kinship ties are formed and grown. For this reason, when someone dies, it is ideal for them to be buried on such a land

“It is highly recommended the dead be buried communally with other ancestors so that they will feel at home rather than lonely and homeless.

This would thus save their spirits from the struggle of making new friends,” she adds. 

For Barrack, this final rest still seems a way off. 

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