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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Benga Musician Owino Misiani sang, Nyakack un lang’o (the people of Nyakach you are martial). But he did not say Nyakach you are the only martial Luo clan. In deed Luos as nilotes were all martial. It is only the degree of military tour of duty that varied. And the level of military excursion depended on the frontline duty that called a clan to engage the enemy.

In addition to this some clan military engagements became famous or infamous just for notoriety. Gem clan and their endless goch kisumo was just famous for the number of phases it took. It goes that Gem clan also had a frontier to protect but not as many as Ugenya clan. Seme clan’s ferocity is infamous just for the notoriety of some of the most brutal field marshals Seme had in their midst like Ochwonjo Randiek.

In all fairness Ugenya is ahead of Alego battle for the top spot for the most martial clan of the Lakeside Luo settlers. Why so? Beginning with later history going backwards, the Ugenya clan had more prevalence to military service in WWI and WWII, the KAR and the police force and the prisons. They stand alone undisputed on top of that league.

As far as interclan engagement goes Ugenya was more offensive whether while living in Alego land or back in Ugenya. Its Ugenya who floored Owiny Sigoma of Alego. At one time Ugenya would simultaneously engage offensives on four fronts and easily beat them back. In addition to this Alego clan never sustained a heated combat if it meant that they are to receive front casualties. They were known to make strategic retreat and opt for tactical re-direction fashionably known in Kenyan presidential politics as handshakes to mitigate frontline losses (surprise surprise! ). Not Ugenya clan. In all her wars Ugenya faced combat with blind rage. This rage was only pacified when they were offered bribes as brides or some arms length transactions. Some later day armchair behavioural scientists claim that it is this habit that has made Ugenya people be pervasive in polygamy, wife inheritance and reckless worldwide inter-tribal marriage.

The battle for Mumia’s palace by Ugenya-kager Clan which led to a face off with Bwana Hobley illustrates the Ugenya’s insatiable thirst for martyrdom. Ugenya clan believed that a warrior must die in battle field but not ailing (ruath tho gi lum I dhoge) which has been wrongly twisted by lustful minds. And indeed battle was to Ugenya people what combat is to Somalis and semites.

Around Murumba there were several clans of later Bantus/Nilotes led by Maramas who dug in as human shield for Wanga people (kawango, a splinter of Sakwa). The maramas were like commandos led by Generals Omumu Ahoma, Manyasi Sirotwa, Imbuthu Wasiari and Odera Indakwa. After many days of stand-off Rateng’ Juka, Siero Orwanjo and Omuga Ochanda assassinated the three generals and Murumba fell to the hands of the people of Ugenya.

Typical of the ferocity of the Ugenya kager warriors, that triumph was not enough unless they died in battle, it appears. The Ugenya warriors over ran the Wanga who had summoned the Kalenjins and Afro Arabs during the stand-off. But the mercenaries were no match for fresh wits of Ugenya reinforcements led by Nyawade Odenyo and Obanda Nyang’inja who made easy work of the Wanga and Kalenjin warriors and beat them back up to the gates of paramount Chief Mumia. Chief Mumia by then who oversaw the western part of Kenya up to Naivasha as perennially claimed by Uganda modern state leaders as the authentic landmark of Kenya / Uganda boundary.

And Mumia staring at defeat at the brutal hands of Ugenya knew that not only the loss of half of Kenya with lavish rolling plains was at risk but his own life was on the line. But paramount chief Mumia of Wanga (kawango/Sakwa) had one bullet left after even the Afro Arabs with their Kamnara bunde aroka were scattered by the ferocity of Ugenya kager forces. Paramount Chief Mumia of Wanga knew what dissipates Ugenya forces when on a blood hunt. Mumia pulled his ace card by offering his prized princess sister, Wasamba to Ugenya forces. And instantly the battle march of Ugenya forces calmed down as if it was never there. But this calm before the storm was for Mumia to buy time while he sought to summon Bwana Hobley with his Machine gun to obliterate the Ugenya forces while the rest of Luo clans watched as innocent bystanders.

Princess Wasamba was married off to a kager-man (Cheeky Kager) by the name of Opondo “Mirembo” Obat. Mrembo indeed! And princess Wasamba bore the splendidly nicknamed Opondo 'Mirembo' two sons and a daughter. In return the Ugenya as an indomitable regional martial force from the Lake Shores to Naivasha was obliterated when Bwana Hobley arrived with his sub machine gun many years later.


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