Thousands of mourners have converged on the home of fallen Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua in Hinga, Mathira, to bid him final farewell.
They include President Uhuru Kenyatta, former President Mwai Kibaki, opposition leader Raila Odinga and a host of governors, deputy governors, senators, MPs and MCAs from Nyeri and other parts of the country.
The governors who have arrived so far include Cleophas Lagat (Nandi), Joshua Irungu( Laikipia), Waithaka Mwangi (Nyandarua), Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa).
Mr Gachagua’s body arrives at his Hinga home in Mathira Constituency for burial on March 6, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP.
The mourners will, however, not have an opportunity to view Mr Gachagua’s body after his family rejected their request, citing logistics.
“My brother had many supporters but we have ruled out giving them a chance to view his body because of the logistical nightmare involved,” family spokesperson Rigathi Gachagua said.
“They can stand on the roadsides and wave as the hearse makes its way to the home.”
Cooks prepare food for mourners. The cooks were sourced from 20 women and youth groups across central Kenya. PHOTO | GUCHU NDUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP.
The family has reserved seats for all the 46 for Nyeri members of county assembly, some of whom had said they would keep off the burial, citing security fears.
Majority Leader Duncan Gituanja claimed his colleagues had received death threats from unknown people and that they were warned against attending the funeral.
Governors wait to receive the body of their late colleague Nderitu Gachagua at his home on March 6, 2017. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP.
By 9am, only eight MCAs, who supported Mr Gachagua, had arrived and taken their seats.
Also present is Speaker David Mugo, who is expected to address the gathering on behalf of the assembly that impeached the late governor before the Senate saved him.
On Sunday, Mr Rigathi criticised the MCAs who had vowed to stay away from the burial, saying the bereaved family was not interested in sideshows.
From left, front row: Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe, President Kenyatta, Mr Kibaki and Othaya MP Mary Wambui at Mr Gachagua’s home on March 6, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP.
“As a family we have been very clear that all who wish to give the late governor a befitting send-off are welcome without exception,” said Mr Rigathi.
Police visited the home on Sunday and held consultations with the family members to assess the ongoing preparations.
Police have assured mourners planning to attend the burial of their safety.
Nyeri County Assembly Speaker David Mugo arrives for the burial. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP.
Regional police chief Larry Kieng dismissed the MCAs claims of death threats circulating on social media as false.
“We have a very elaborate security plan for that day. It will be safe for everyone attending,” he said.
Mr Gachagua succumbed to pancreatic cancer at Royal Marsden Hospital in London on February 24.