• There was a feeling that the extinction of the Abasuba identity would lead to its assimilation by other Luo subgroups.
• The Abasuba community constitutes about 20 per cent of the population in Homa Bay.
The Abasuba community have eulogised retired President Daniel Moi as a wise leader who stood for the good of citizens.
Community elders cited a case in which Moi overcame the pressure to create Suba district. They said some politicians opposed the idea.
The district (currently Suba North and Suba South subcounties) was curved in 1995 from Homa Bay district (now Homa Bay county). Some politicians viewed it as a move to create divisions between the community and the rest of the Luo subgroups.
On Tuesday, Awasuba Community Association chairman Arphaxad Mugambwa and former Kanu youth leader David Lego (now an elderly man) said Moi was disturbed with the pressure to drop the idea. Mugambwa said the politicians were encouraging extinction of the identity of the Abasuba community.
There was a feeling that the extinction of the Abasuba identity would lead to its assimilation by the rest of the Luo community. The Abasuba community constitutes about 20 per cent of the population in Homa Bay.
"We wanted our district as the Abasuba community, but a number of politicians were discouraging Moi from creating it. They argued that creating Suba district would promote a division between the Luo and the Abasuba communities,” Mugambwa said.
He said the opposing group said Abasuba were Luos, but the proponents insisted that they were a distinct ethnic group, hence deserved a district. Abasuba is considered as the fourth Luo subgroup even though its first members to arrive in Kenya were Bantus. Luos are Nilotes.
"We had to work as a team with the likeminded politicians like former Gwassi MP Peter Nyakiamo and made a delegation to Moi’s home. We found him and he listened to us,” Mugambwa added.
He said Moi used his wisdom in making the decision. "A few months later, Moi gave us a date for creating the district and he did it."
Lego described Moi as a wise leader who could resolve contentious issues amicably. “He withstood pressure from those who opposed the Suba district."
Lego served as a Kanu youth leader in Nyanza during Moi’s era. "I can remember how we worked tactfully to get votes in Nyanza where many people were rebelling against Kanu in support of Ford Kenya,” he said.
Their comments were echoed by the Kanu organising Secretary in Ndhiwa constituency, Elisha Aruka, who remembered Moi for starting a number of schools in Nyanza such as Moi Sindo Girls, Moi Institute of Technology (currently Rongo University) and Moi Nyabohanse Girls.
“Moi also appointed Nyanza residents to big positions in his government. They included Hezekiah Oyugi, Dalmas Otieno, Odongo Omamo, Peter Nyakiamo," he said.