I am Author Joseph R. Alila. THE WISE ONE OF RAMOGILAND is the third of my 10 novels. This novel explores how spirituality and ethnicity have shaped the experience of the Luo in Kenyan national politics.
In this timely story, which spans ethnicity, spirituality, and nationhood, I have tried to explore the origins (historical) of the Luo collective psyche and how it has found its way into decisively shaping Kenya’s electoral map and politics. For a Warrior tribe, this collective attitude of your-fight-is-my-fight made sense during historical times when the might of the arm and weight of the weapon, won grazing land and watering holes for livestock.
But aspects of this spirit of oneness have survived, even as the Luo, as other tribes (read nations), have found themselves as part of an amalgam of nations known as The Republic of Kenya. Key among these aspects is the respect for the Warrior Leader (read politician, elders, prophets, or professors or professional artists).
The Luo tend to respect the Warriors (Thuondi) of the day—these are men (and now women) who have excelled in the battlefield (now, academia, politics, art, or professional trades).
When a Luo follows the Leader or Warrior (Thuon) of the day, it is in recognition of his or her courage, humility, exploits, abilities, integrity and honor beyond reproach ( a deal is a deal for the Luo). Of these qualities or vitues, humility ranks very high because the Luo Mind abhores being lorded over by a leader, just as it abhores murder and thievery. If an errant Leader (Warrior) cannot be moderated by the people, Elders will, and if that fails, the Prophet (or Seer, or Priest, Spiritual Leader) will offer him or her some informed friendly advice.
I hope this novel will help deflate the myth that the Luo follow their leaders blindly in Kenyan electoral politics. They never did as demonstrated by the high turnover rates among Luo elected leaders. I also hope that a national understanding among Kenya’s peoples will come out of a genuine desire of tribal leaders to understand one another’s fears and hopes, and to live on the principles of humility, trust, integrity and openness in their daily dealings.