Over the past one week, the Michael Osumba Funds being raised to transport his remains to Kenya got a boost with SEK 2.000. Gideon Nyakwar Oyundi joined Club 1000 while another SEK 1.000 came in from a contributor who would like to remain anonymous. This brings the total amount raised so far to SEK 37.775 ahead of the “Final Push” Harambee scheduled for 28th September 2013.
The funds raised have been handed over to the Funeral Agency responsible for transporting the body to Kenya awaiting balance. During the handing over of the funds, the Agency said that Mr. Osumba will require a special casket with aluminium lining which will cost an extra SEK 3.000. Initially, transportation of the body was placed at SEK 40.000 but with the new development, the price has risen to SEK 43.000. This means that a balance of SEK 5.500 is still required apart from the cost of tickets for Osumba’s family which has been placed at between SEK 25-30.
In the meantime, the Michael Osumba Committee, led by Jared Odero, continues to mobilize for the 28th Harambee. Details of the function are expected to be released by Friday this week.
Following the latest development, the list of Club 1000 members which stood at 15 during the last update has gone up with 2 members having joined the club. The new members are Mr. Mark Gaya and Mr. Gideon Nyakwar Oyundi. The updated list is as follows: 1. Jared Odero 2. Martin Ngatia 3. Jasper Orieny 4. Hellen Opwapo 5. Brian Arwa 6. Okoth Osewe 7. Dr.Otieno Wariaro 8. Florence Asum 9. Pamela and Edward 10. Nancy Wandaka 11. Clay Onyango 12. Teresa Mawa 13. Nelly Musira 14. Petty Okulo 15. James Owuya 16. Mark Gaya 17. Gideon Nyakwar Oyundi.
Complications With Club 1000
Experiences with club 1000 has exposed considerable complications. This is because since the Club has no formal structure, rules or regulations, and since it is a voluntary undertaking, there can be no pressure on some members who promised to join the club but who have not done so. The voluntary nature of Club 1000 arrangement deprives it of any obligatory responsibilities and the implication of this dilemma is that potential and perceived members are left to their own devices especially at the point of delivery. This tendency can best be illustrated by the Millie and the Osumba Harambees where the concept of Club 1000 has been at centre stage.
From observations, members of Club 1000 who were part of the Millie Harambee have somehow failed to show solidarity with the Osumba Harambee. This inclination has heightened anxiety and sparked debate about the future of Club 1000 because contributions within the Club appear to be linked to existing social networks in Kenya-Stockholm. Initially, the general assumption was that Club 1000 members were compelled to chip in if a Kenyan kicked the bucket regardless of network affiliations. However, the emergent experience demonstrates that network affiliations has been instrumental in dictating observable patterns of Club 1000 contributions. To illustrate this pattern, a factoring of results from the Millie Harambee and a linkage of these results to the on-going Osumba Harambee (from the perspective of Club 1000) might be necessary.
Theoretically, Club 1000 is supposed to be a single united entity but for purposes of analysis, a differentiation of the “Millie” and the “Osumba” Clubs might help in the construction of the new reality. So far, many members of the Osumba Club 1000 who contributed generously to the Millie Club 1000 are concerned that apart from Don Clay Onyango (who mooted the Club 1000 idea), majority of those who contributed to the Millie Club 1000 have failed to reciprocate in the Osumba Harambee. This situation has sparked debate about the definition of Club 1000, its aims and real objectives. Initially, the perception was that Club 1000 could be a Kenyan solution to “body transport” back home but as experiences unfold, the concept is fundamentally breaking down into a “network arrangement” where network members can act in one case and ignore another case with gusto.
In the case of Osumba, a possible explanation is that the late Osumba was not well known to the generation of Kenyans involved in the Club 1000 development and at 70 years of age, the late Osumba belonged to the elderly generation of Kenyans known for their private lives and limited social contacts. Be that as it may, the concept of Club 1000 was expected to break the generational, ethnic and network barriers but with the Osumba experience, some members of the Club have returned to the drawing board to examine the nitty-gritty of the concept and how they can relate to it.
Another observation is that in both the Millie and the Osumba cases, members of the Kikuyu community in Stockholm have basically stayed away from Club 1000 and the same case applies to members of the Kalenjin community who have kept their distance as other Kenyans struggle to fund raise to transport bodies to Kenya.
According to Kenya-Stockholm pundits, the explanation is that many Kikuyus in Stockholm are deeply entrenched in the House of Mumbi doctrine and with growing opposition to the Uhuru Kenyatta presidency, many Kikuyus have opted to stay away from non-Kikuyu fund drives. It is notable that Kenya-Stockholm Kikuyus have also accused members of other communities (especially the Luo) of staying away from Kikuyu Harambees, an observation that may have led to a “tit for tat” game that has split Kenyans here on ethnic lines. Progressive Kenyans who have broken ethnic cocoons and who show solidarity regardless of ethnicity are well known in Kenya-Stockholm.
Although there are a handful of Kikuyus in Stockholm who are not affected by the “Kikuyu factor” in Kenyan politics, it is an open secret that many Kenya-Stockholm Kikuyus are not interested in Club 1000 or in contributing a krona to non-Kikuyu Harambees. The situation is even worse when the purpose of the funds is to transport the body of a Luo to Kenya for burial. Needless to say, the Kikuyus have not been so much burdened with body transportation to Kenya because in the last 2 years, four Kikuyus have passed away in Stockholm and 3 of them have been buried here.
Use and dump brigade
Both Millie and Osumba were Luos and still at the ethnic level, there is also the inexplicable case of prominent members of the Luo community who have refused to show solidarity with club 1000 (or contribute a single krona) when one of them is down. At the Harambees, they are openly discussed and cursed for abandoning the community at its hour of need when they fully understand the cultural obligations. Paradoxically, many of them are past beneficiaries of Harambees after losing relatives in Kenya or Stockholm, time when they needed to travel home or transport a body to Kenya for burial. The most talked about is the case of a Luo family which lost a loved one recently, appealed for help to transport the body of their loved one to Kenya but disappeared thereafter. They went missing at the Millie Harambee while they are yet to show their faces at the Osumba Harambee. The question of Kenyans “being used and dumped” is up for debate while hypocrisy is forcing Kenyans to put their money “where their mouths are”.
On the whole, a detailed analysis of Club 1000 concept and latest trends in Harambee contributions in Kenya-stockholm is necessary because of the emergent and diverse affiliations that are likely to define the future of this great and noble idea. In the meantime, the reality of Club 1000 in Kenya-Stockholm remains at the Network level.