Legendary Snake,Omieri unveiled for public viewing at Nairobi museum


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The famous 16-foot python, christened Omieri by the Luo, has been unveiled for public viewing at the Kenya National Museum’s Snake Park, Nairobi.

This comes 30 years after her death in Kisumu in 1987.

The python shot to the limelight in 1987 during the controversial burial case of criminal lawyer SM Otieno.

The case, which was argued for five months, pitted Otieno’s Umira Kager clan against his wife Wambui Otieno.

Ethnic rivalry, customary law, inter-marriages, women’s rights, class relations and death formed the epicentre of the landmark legal battle.

Otieno’s clan wanted him to be buried at his rural home in Nyalgunga while his widow wanted the burial done at his Nairobi home.

Omieri, revered among the Luo people, became a national sensation and was even debated in Parliament when it died.

A condolence book was also opened at the Kaloleni Social Hall and the Kisumu National Museum.

So revered was the python that when it was injured in a fire as locals cleared a bush around its nest for tourists’ viewing, she was airlifted to Nairobi for treatment.

The Luo believed the snake carried with it good tidings whenever it appears, like rain during drought.

This was manifested in 1987 shortly before her death when then Kisumu Town MP Wilson Ndolo Ayah said the Luo would emerge victorious in three fierce battles that year.

He said the Umira Kager clan would win the SM Otieno case and bury him in Nyalgunga, Gor Mahia would win the Mandela Cup and Omieri would be returned to Kisumu from Nairobi.

All these came to pass as Wambui Otieno lost the SM Otieno case and Gor Mahia became the first Kenyan club to lift the Mandela Cup, defeating Tunisia’s Esperence at Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.

Consequently, Omieri was transferred to the Kisumu National Museum for recuperation from a Nairobi orphanage.

Then Nyakach MP Ojwang K’Ombudo claimed his constituency had been hit by a water shortage and a local road had faced serious problems since Omieri went to Nairobi.

In fact, locals later blamed Omieri’s death on her three-month stint in Nairobi where they claimed she missed the ancestral drinking water from River Asawo and the Oduoro stream.

There have been several sightings of the Omieri since her death in the period between 2003 and 2006.

Some reports say in the most recent sightings in Nyakach and Nyando, residents gifted it with goats, chicken and ugali.


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