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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


STRATEGIC THINKING OF ANCIENT RIVER/ LAKE NILOTES Yesterday, a regular reader of my blog wanted to know in Luo genealogy if we are related to President elect Ruto. I told him that at this juncture it is best to say we are not related and Kikuyus are our first cousins. And true I even kept of any comparisons or contrasting. I could not even compare the stealth war fare of the mountain Nilotes against the daylight infantry armed combat of the river nilotes. I refused even to compare the remote arrow arsenal against the close combat kamikaze like spears (I did not mention IT hacking v physical security). I did not compare strategic plans of the river nilotes of safety in numbers. I will compare these another day why the river nilotes were still more successful than the plain or mountain nilotes because now the nerves are still very raw after the botched elections.. But I want to tell you a true story to underscore the rive lake nilotes' strategy.

On both sides of River Nzoia is a true story of Owira I of Alego and Owiso of Ugenya. Owira I is the great, great grandfather of outgoing Siaya Governor Rasanga Amoth. Owiso on the other side has a long list of descendants around Ambira boxers, academicians etc. And celebrity pop star singer guitarist Owiso who is actually the composer of all time great pop song Lunchtime by Gabriel Omolo. Here is the excerpts from Who is Who in Alego from Namlolwe anecdotes. ( ____

"6.OWIRA I - Owira who was from the fierce battle men living amongst war like Ager in in later day Nyang’oma ruins was a strong ruler but very strategic in thoughts. One time his cattle was rustled by some cheeky and daring Ugenya people who left only bleating calves. Owira instead of mounting a hot pursuit released his warriors to take the bleating calves to Owiso the leader of this Ugenya clan with the placating message, “wealth is for all, there is no need to lose the calves as well”.

After the calves weaning period Owiso sent word for Owira to come collect his calves. But Owira sent an emissary back with the message , “Thank you but keep the calves as bride price and give my warriors girls to marry”.

And his subjects were stunned at the manner of this Owira response in this engagement with these Ugenya people. And so was Owiso the Ugenya man . “What kind of strong ruler is weak at the lure of a expansion of his Kingdom that he would lay a scheme running into generations in the future!”. _____ And here in lies the first lesson of the power of a kingdom expansion. You are always safe in numbers, in votes and in armed combat. Its the river nilotes way that conquered bigger empires and set all those bigger dynasties like the Baganda, Busoga etc. It recorded more success than anything achieved by east bound mountain and plain sites Nilotes put together. That has always been the river nilotes primary strategy. Empire expansion was the primary occupation and responsibility of all be it by assimilation of others . Like Owira forget expensive useless battles . Do this and all shall be added unto you.

As the river Nilotes ravaged down the River Nile, the raids were launched first and foremost to overcome the enemy then capture women and children. Food and opulence was just a by product. The population increased in algebraic numbers to add their population and consequently their martial power. This explains why the River Nilotes covered large geographical areas and nestled on plush resources like the water laden Lake Victoria basin where their numbers have outstripped any other Nilotic group since they left the Sudan in 1100AD


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