'The current generation of women have stopped exclusive breastfeeding of children while men are not polygamous as we did in our time'
Luo men have been urged to shun family planning and instead marry many women to sire more children to grow the community's population.
The Luo Council of Elders on Wednesday said family planning had derailed the growth of the community in terms of population.
The 2019 census figures show there are 5,066,966 Luos out of the total Kenyan population of 47.5 million. The Luos are the fourth largest community after Kikuyu, Luhya and Kalenjin.
Luo Council of Elders chairman Nyandiko Ongadi said the community's numbers are not growing at the expected rate. He blamed the sluggishness on the use of modern family planning methods.
"Most members of the community, especially women, are enrolled in different family planning methods at an early stage without considering its effects on the population," Ongadi said.
He said modern family planning practices hinder women's ability to give birth when their ages advance.
“Some parents have introduced family planning even to school-going children. There are chances that the practice will prevent the girls from conceiving when they reach maturity age,” Ongadi said.
Figures released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics on the 2019 Population and Housing Census show Kikuyu is the largest community by population with 8.4 million people.
It was followed by Luhyas and Kalenjins with 6.82 million and 6.35 million people respectively. The Kambas make the top five with 4.6 million.
Ongadi said the Luos would have topped the list if members of the community had gone slow on family planning. He said Luos were the second largest community at the time of Independence in 1963.
“Family planning is not bad but members of our community should not overindulge in it at the expense of natural population growth. The community members should only use it when necessary,” Ongadi said.
The elder who spoke to reporters in Kendu Bay said people should adopt natural ways of controlling births.
“The current generation of women have stopped exclusive breastfeeding of children while men are not polygamous as we did in our time.”
Ongadi encouraged Luos to multiply in order to get more resources from the government.
He urged politicians to be in the frontline in urging people to reproduce.
“The government distributes resources in accordance with the population growth of a people. Politicians get power through votes,” he said.
Ongadi asked men to emulate Asentus Akuku fondly known as Akuku Denja who married 40 wives. “Akuku was working hard and ensured he provided for his family despite having many women,” Ongadi said.
edited by peter obuya