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  • Writer's pictureStephen Osieyo


Updated: Jun 11, 2021

As a traditionalist from I am supposed to be notoriously superstitious. Every happening is blamed on the nearest human being. Like this Corona nightmare and Arsenal does not sound right. Why? I will tell you why I am jittery. However I must explain why this has anything to do with Nam Lolwe.

I am a footballball fan. To be specific I am a Luo Union (Re Union) FC fan. I only moved to Arsenal FC when Luo Union started limping badly and I had relocated and could do nothing about it. Luo Union was formed about 100 years ago in Mwanza Tanganyika by Luo war veterans left behind after World War 1. In fact Europe did not even bother to tell East Africa that the war had ended. So they kept on playing hide and seek with German Von Lettow Vorbeck’s scorch the earth tactics deep into Tanganyika. When the news eventually reached them that the war ended some of them had to make their way back on their own. Standing between them and the North-eastern shores of Lake Victoria was not only distance but happenings enveloping the Great Lakes region.

Veteran Mzee Ranyuongi Oyoo s/o Ogola of Kojuodhi Village in Gem arrived back in Yala in 1928 after being marooned in the lake shore town of Mwanza. In Mwanza Tanganyika, Ranyuongi Oyoo of Kojuodhi played at full-back position in the ‘mpira mar remo” squad (six a side) for Luo Union. When he arrived back at his Yala, home opposite Kisumu-Busia bus stop to the left near on the banks of River Yala, he had to be cleansed because Kojuodhi clan had ritually mourned him with the stem of yago tree. Thereafter his mother Abwanda nyar Kathomo organized a welcome party.

In Independent Kenya Luo Union was always caught between crossing swords of pro Mboya vs Pro Odinga groupings but the club always had another life. In 1978 they were de-registered but formed 3 splinter clubs and continued playing in the top division. And when that one was relegated in 1978, then the other splinter got through belated KFF decision as the rightful club who should have been playing in top division.

In 1983 again Re-Union was relegated but a KFF insider, Brazil Odhiambo, ransacked the files and found a loop-hole in the match Commissars report that technically nullified a game 12 months after it had ended. They reviewed the results and appeals and found a point, way after the 1984 season had commenced and Re Union was reinstated.

Luo Union/ Re Union also had men in high places who fought their way to always prop them. In 1993 again they were relegated. As the new 1994 season was about to kick off some KFF top brass produced all time continental ranking placing Luo Union/Re Union at position 49 of all Africa clubs. All of a sudden an Agenda was introduced and tabled on the floor that “How can club number 49 play in lower division and inconsequential cellophane club teams without history and culture be allowed to play in the top division”. It was a no brainer that ReUnion FC must be reinstated in the Kenyan top division of 1994 before cellophane clubs could be allowed in the League. When the meeting ended ReUnion FC was back in league. The most bizarre constitutional high handedness in non-personal organization had just taken place to the disgust of Kenyan constitutional lawyers.

How did that just happen? This exactly is where Arsenal FC, Nam Lolwe and Corona virus come together.

The Spanish flu preceded the Luo Union Fc and devastated the Lake Victoria basin so badly the war veterans were literally quarantined in Mwanza where they ended up forming Luo Union (Reunion FC). If the Spanish flu was not there the Luo veterans would long have left Mwanza. It is evident that the returnees would have been too scattered and too busy resettling that child’ play like a football game would not be in the agenda.

In Europe the same Spanish flu propelled Arsenal in the most obscene promotion to the top division from lower division. It was a scandal that rocked English football and can only find its match in the Luo Union/Reunion FC scandal of 1979, 1984 and 1994.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea were involved in these scandals but it was the way Arsenal jettisoned Tottenham that made them public enemy number one.

Act 1: Manchester United and Liverpool fixed a game for Liverpool to lose 2-0 so that Manchester could stay in the top flight in 1915.

Act 2: Then Influential Liverpool man pulls everything for Chelsea to remain in top division even though they stood having been relegated by a mere point.


Tottenham’s relegation was dutifully confirmed and it is fair deal because after all they had been relegated. But when the vote came to determine which club should take their place in the top club, it was snidy dirty double dealing Arsenal!

How can a club who had finished lowly in the second division be promoted to top division? Why not retain Tottenham FC.? Arsenal Chairman, Conservative party member and Freemason Norris had just stitched Tottenham. The man who had taken Arsenal from Woolich, south London to North London (like taking Abaluhya FC from Kakamega to Homa Bay) quickly appointed serial winning manager Herbert Chapman. In the following inter war years Arsenal who had never won a trophy lifted the championship FIVE times and the FA cup twice. It was bound to hurt the English football family because noisy Arsenal had come from lowly division 2 for the very first time to rubbish the prestige of big league status.

Fast forward 100 years to 2020 and the same old Arsenal FC who are struggling is massaging the systems to get Man City kicked not only out of UEFA but out of the English Premier League as well. All the the big clubs in Europe and England are stoking the fire, but its Arsenal’s past that is preceding it.


Does this boardroom gamesmanship not remind you of a certain Nam Lolwe team? The real question is, have we heard of the last of Nam Lowe’s Luo Union FC? Not when the disasters listed below are happening again 100 years after they happened in the same sequence and same intensity.

I am supposed to be a superstitious traditionalist who believes that nothing just happens. _________________________________________________________________



100 years ago the rains failed in Kenya. It brought with it the famine of 1919/20. In Luo land it was called 'the famine of KANGA'. An estimated 155,000 people in British East Africa died.

If you know of anybody or any place named KANGA or AKANGA check with them to verify. The word was borrowed from the war veterans, Kanga, returning from 1st World War.

My grandmother, Anna Our nyar-Odembo told us that during such extreme famines, Luo wives would deny their children food and keep for their husbands. She was explaining to us, the Dholuo saying "Kik idonj I wach dhako gi chuore".


100 years ago locusts swarms exacerbated the food shortages in Nyanza. I think there was a swarm last year or early this year


100 years ago, as if the famine was not enough East Africa became engulfed in Spanish Influenza pandemic. This pandemic caused more deaths than the 4 years of fighting the 1st World War. In the less dense population of South Nyanza alone 5,000 people were 'recorded' as having died from flu alone and many more from small pox and plague. And that is upper South Nyanza before I include Lowlands (chula) and South Nyanza proper (milambo). As for the rest of Nyanza, the figures are still out there as central and North Nyanza was a far densely populated part of Nyanza.


100 years ago or so KIPANDE was introduced. I am not saying Huduma number. All the same it was an onerous demand on African population register for identity cards. A certificate bearing fingerprints and details was entailed. Sneakily introduced was increase in direct taxation.


100 years ago after the war, the British increased the hut and poll tax. I am not mentioning any other taxes because there was none. The result is felt up to today. The introduction of such a cash based tax reduced Kenya to a cash economy and literally killed resources based production. This is the beginning of urban migration and exorbitant dowry and burial customs. It is easy to see where our poverty came from when the punitive taxes made us abandon gainful application to our natural resources like fishing, local cottage industry and subsistence farming for the squalors of urban slums.


100 years ago with the war over some states went under false colonialism as protectorate or League of Nations supervision. In any case the British used this Handshake with the Germans to annex the colony and rename it Kenya. The marriage of convenience meant that issues that could be followed up like war compensation to Africans were ignored while Britain used this same chance to vastly expand housing and other services.

The Brexit negotiations was finally concluded last year is so reminiscent of World War 1.


100 years ago there were demands from the Royal ruling class for security of "tenure". To secure crowns tenure in Kenya from regular 9 years terms to long term 999 years! Have you ever wondered where the 999 years on your leases came from?

I will leave this one to your imagination.


100 years after the Great War the map of colonization in Africa was redrawn in similar fashion to the Brexit fallout that engulfed Europe in the last 2 years or so.


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