There was a melee and confusion yesterday at Got Kweru hill, the holy shrine of the Legio Maria following the arrival of Pope Adika to celebrate the annual pilgrimage of the Founder of Legio Maria the late Melkio Ondeto. Got Kweru in Luo is the short form of Got Kwero Richo (The hill of repentance or the hill of revoking sins).
The composure of the hill on a 20 acre piece of land is something that one notices from far.Many people who subscribe to the Legio Faith go to pray on this divine place to tap blessings from the late Melkio Ondeto who was buried there.The serenity and the holiness of the place is highly preserved that no one is allowed to access the site with shoes on.Doing so is considered a “provocation of the spirits that can attract curses”.Even politicians visit this place to meet religious leaders who cast out demons from them by speaking in tongues and spinning on the grounds.They do this hoping to appease God and make them win future elections. Discussing Luo cultural beliefs would be incomplete without mentioning Got Kweru.
Legio Maria has been faced with leadership wrangles for quite a while now and this reemerged after the passing on of Pope Romanus Ong’ombe some few months ago. Romanus Ong’ombe was buried at Got Kweru in Migori County at the age of 96.Got Kweru is held in high regards amongst the Legions because they also bury religious leaders there. Romanus’ death saw Members of the Legio Church differ on who was to replace him with some rooting for Lawrence Ochieng while others insisted that Raphael Adika was the Pope.Even before his death, Romanus Ong’ombe had been embroiled in leadership wars with Raphael Adika.
Pope Adika leads his followers at Jerusalem Amoyo while the newly appointed Pope Lawrence Kalul prays with his flock at Got Kweru. Yesterday marked a very important day in the Legio Calendar and so Pope Adika decided to join them at the holly hill.Little did he know that the followers of Pope Kalul were on a mission to disperse him.They pelted stones at his convoy in a bid to prevent him from accessing Got Kweru.
The police intervened and lobered teargas canisters to disperse the marauding group of church members that were determined to frustrate Adika’s efforts of accessing the “Calvary”. The other faction led by Pope Lawrence Kalul accused Pope Adika of employing intimidation tactics by using security officers to disrupt their peace at the Calvary. The commotions that ensued between members of the church and the police officers saw two people lose their lives due to gun shots.
Nyanza Daily cannot verify whether they were shot by the police or by some hired goons.A trail of loss was also left after a car in the convoy of Pope Adika was set ablaze. It seems the leadership wrangles in the Legio Maria is far from over and Got Kweru remains a coveted place with others not allowed to set their foot on it.