Omieri – the famous 16-foot python, has been unveiled for public viewing at the Kenya National Museum’s Snake Park, in Nairobi. This celebrated snake died 30 years ago after its habitation in Kisumu was torched by some of the locals as they cleared a bush around its nest for tourists’ viewing, thereby suffering burns on the head. It was then airlifted to Nairobi for specialized treatment.
It, however, was returned to Kisumu Museum because Nyakach residents claimed its absence had brought them misfortune.
“It was returned to Kisumu Museum, where for a period of time it was not treated, and for fear that it would die, it was brought back here, but it died later, in July 1987,” said Mr Otieno – a curator at the Nairobi Snake Park.
Omieri, revered among the Luo people, became a national sensation and was even debated in Parliament when it died. A condolence book was also opened at the Kaloleni Social Hall and the Kisumu National Museum.
As it now lies on a transparent cubic glass tank filled with industrial methylated alcohol almost to the three-quarter mark, resting on a pedestal almost a metre from the ground, Omieri has, however, lost the distinct dark and shiny complexion of its heyday. It is dark with white spots and scales on all parts of the peeling carcass.
The python, which is coiled with parts of its body close to the head up above the preservative, is now a pale shadow of the enormous reptile that weighed over 75 kilogrammes, although the carcass still bears the burn scars from three decades ago.
“We will put up a text that will tell people about the snake’s history from the point it was discovered to the point it died. We have stories about it, newspaper cuttings and memoirs. ” said Mr Albert Otieno, a senior curator at the snake park.
“We were looking for a postmortem examination report but did not get it because when it died we never got it, and so we are not sure where it is. Moreover, there is a condolence book that was signed but we cannot also find it.”
The question is, should the Nyakach people demand that Omieri’s remains/body be brought back home to Kisumu, as it’s final resting place? Since according to Luo culture and tradition, a son/daughter of the land must always find rest at home.
~ Additional reporting: Courtesy Nation