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Omieri receives warm reception at cultural fete

Hundreds of Kisumu residents thronged Jomo Kenyatta Sports Grounds to view the legendary python, Omieri, even as Luo elders differed with National Museums of Kenya officers over the possession of its remains.

A long queue was witnessed as residents sought to view the remains of Omieri, which were on a public exhibition yesterday during the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) celebrations being held in Kisumu county.

“We are eager to see the legendary python because when it was captured in Nyakach in 1987 some of us we were not born,” said a resident.

Omieri’s remains, which are preserved in a cubic glass container, were handled by the museum officers, led by Nairobi Snake Park curator Albert Otieno and were showcased in a traditional grass-thatched hat under tight security.

Otieno said: “We have brought back Omieri to its ancestral home where members of the public will have a chance to view it for free. It will be at Kisumu Sports Grounds for three days before it is taken to Nyakach Wasare village, where it was captured, for two days before it is taken back to Kisumu Museum until October when it will be returned to Nairobi.”

He said Omieri is a national heritage and it would continue to be preserved in Nairobi to ensure its remains are well handled for the sake of future generations.

However, Luo elders, led by Michael Obolo, said Omieri was part of village life and there is need to have its remains preserved in Kisumu to help restore the strong cultural beliefs tied to it.

Obolo, who is the Nyakach Council of Elders vice chair,  said Omieri brought good fortunes to people and its presence in the village brought adequate rains, hence good harvests.

The elders said Omieri is their gift from God and they should be allowed to preserve its body in the Kisumu museum.  They, however, thanked the National Museums of Kenya and the county government for bringing Omieri home.

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