Jubilee leaders: Why we skipped Kajwang’s funeral


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duale021214Jubilee leaders say they skipped the burial of Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ after it became evident it was going to be turned into a political event for the Opposition to criticise the Government and embarrass them.

Those who spoke to The Standard said they were forced to cancel their journey to Homa Bay after witnessing chaotic scenes at Uhuru Park on Wednesday during the inter-denominational prayer meeting, where some leaders were shouted down.

The leaders Monday faulted Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and in particular the Orange Democratic Movement ( ODM) for turning the funeral into a forum to resuscitate itself.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki and his National Assembly counterpart Aden Duale regretted that they really wanted to bid farewell to a man they respected a lot.

The legislators stressed that Kajwang’ was a senior member of the august House and deserved to be buried by his friends and colleagues but this could not happen.

“We mourned Kajwang’ as one of our own, only to realise his death would be turned into a platform to get back at the Jubilee administration. After watching our speakers and colleagues humiliated at Uhuru Park during the inter-denominational service, we opted to skip his funeral to avoid further embarrassment,” said Mr Duale.

See Also: ‘Merus have been sidelined by Jubilee’

He continued: “The Senator was one of us. We did what we could from the onset.  I attended all the funeral committee meetings chaired by Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura (Murang’a) and made our contribution. It is unfortunate we could not join his family in paying our last respects.”

Prof Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi) and his Nyeri counterpart Mutahi Kagwe confirmed that they cancelled plans to attend the burial after the inter-denominational service.

Conducive atmosphere

“I had planned to be part of the final journey for my friend and colleague, Mapambano, but this could not come to pass. The ground reception might not have been welcoming,” said Kindiki.

“I should have been in Homa Bay county grieving with family and friends, but the atmosphere there might have not been conducive,” said Kagwe.

But ODM has censured President Kenyatta and entire Jubilee leadership for boycotting Kajwang’ funeral, saying he missed his opportunity to bond and identify with Homa Bay residents.

“This is a lame excuse for failing to attend the burial of a national leader who served this country diligently and indiscriminately,” said Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma.

“The Jubilee government feared facing the residents, because all projects in the regions piloted by the grand coalition government stalled immediately it took over power,” he added. Duale said they expected the funeral to be devoid of politics because Kajwang’ had friends from across the political divide but this was not the case if the Uhuru Park prayers were anything to go by.

“I acted as the link between Parliament and the Executive. The President did what he could, including airlifting the body. We had all planned to congregate at the Senator’s Waondo home to give him a befitting burial,” revealed Duale.

“It is not right even in African society to turn funerals into political competitions,” he added.

Kaluma accused the Government of being very vindictive and divisive, noting that the military plane pledged to ferry Kajwang’s body to Kenya was withdrawn at the last minute.

“If we didn’t have an alternative to get a six winger, we might not have managed to bury Kajwang’ as planned. These inequalities are what Kajwang’ strongly opposed,” said Kaluma.

See Also: ‘Merus have been sidelined by Jubilee’

Duale said Kajwang’s death united leaders, but intolerance forced them to skip the funeral.

“It is the policy of Jubilee not to play politics in funerals and calamities,” Duale said.

From Jubilee, only Senator Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu) turned up, as Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo represented the President. Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro was in attendance, but Duale stressed that he represented the Legislature and not the coalition.

Unwelcoming crowd

From the onset, it was evident the mourners did not want to hear anything from the Government and this could be attributed to their harsh reaction towards Wamatangi, who tried to defend the President over claims he has failed to address insecurity.

Omamo did not find the crowd welcoming, as she was forced to abandon the President’s speech and cut short her condolence message.


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