East African Standard
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Anglicans cancel Omino service
By Standard Reporter
The Anglican Church yesterday disowned former Cabinet minister Joab Omino, saying he was a known member of the Freemasons Society.
The church cancelled a funeral service planned for today at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi.
However, the chairman of the Omino funeral committee, Deputy Speaker David Musila, said the service would be held at Uhuru Park, since the church was small and they expected a large crowd.
A harambee organised by the committee to meet the funeral expenses was held last night at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
The administration at the All Saints Cathedral had refused the committee and Omino’s family members access to the church.
Omino had publicly admitted during the Robert Ouko Commission of Inquiry in 1991 that he was a member of the exclusive and a former grand master Freemasons Society.
However, the Maseno diocese of the Anglican Church had said that Omino was a member of the church, to which he had contributed generously.
After the Uhuru Park service at 2 pm, the body will be taken to Omino’s Muthaiga residence for an overnight stay and prayers.
Family members and members of the funeral committee will accompany the body to Kisumu tomorrow morning.
Following yesterday’s decision, it was unclear whether an inter-denominational service — that was to be led by Archbishop Wesonga of the Anglican Church’s Maseno West diocese — would go ahead.
After the service, there will be a viewing of the body at Moi Stadium, Kisumu, from 9.30am. The body will then be taken to his Maseno home at 3.30pm.
Omino who died on January 13, will be buried on Saturday at Maseno following a funeral service at 10am.
Earlier, a spokesman of Omino’s clan, councillor Philip Awinyo, had said the Anglican Church was to preside over the burial service.
He had said Omino was a staunch Anglican and would not be buried by the Freemasons.
Awinyo was speaking at Omino’s home during an inspection of the grave site by Planning minister Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o and Kisumu DC Wilfred Ole Legei.
Omino, who had been ailing for over five months, died as a result of heart complications and breathing problems.
His death threw into shock his Liberal Democratic Party, where he was the chairman and a key ally of Cabinet minister Raila Odinga.
He was also a well-known football administrator, having served as chairman of the Kenya Football Federation and, until his death, was an executive committee member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
His eldest son, Joshua, said a post-mortem revealed that a fluid had gathered in Omino’s brain. The fluid is believed to have put pressure on his heart and breathing system.
Omino was born in 1939 and went to Makerere University in 1959 to 1961, Cambridge University and joined the Government as a trainee administrative officer in 1962.
He took over the Kisumu Town West parliamentary seat in 1990 soon after the death of Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko and was elected Deputy Speaker in 1997 to 2002.
When he was re-elected to Parliament in 2002 he was appointed assistant minister for foreign affairs where he served until his death yesterday.