Regional politics play out at Jacob Juma’s burial as mourners heckle leaders


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Juma's funeralRegional politics play out at Jacob Juma’s burial as mourners heckle leaders

Regional politics played out when the body of slain businessman Jacob Juma arrived in Western for public viewing in Kakamega and Bungoma towns on Friday.

There was no viewing of the body in Bungoma, where the charged crowd made it impossible for the exercise to take place, forcing Sirisia MP John Waluke to order the pilot carrying the casket to lift off for Juma’s Mungore home in Bumula Constituency.

Mr Waluke’s efforts to calm the crowd failed as they heckled Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, claiming he was fighting Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.

Because of the chaos, Waluke ordered the helicopter carrying Juma’s corpse to head straight to his home because of security threat.

Missing in the entourage

The programme released by the funeral committee chaired by the Sirisia MP had earlier indicated that viewing would take place at Muliro Gardens in Kakamega and Kanduyi Stadium in Bungoma, but that was not to be.

It was not explained why the venues were changed to Kakamega Approved School and Posta Grounds in Bungoma by the respective county governments.

But it was the absence of Wetang’ula and all elected MPs from the region apart from Waluke himself and Senator Bonny Khalwale that raised eyebrows and generated heated debate among Ford Kenya supporters, who had gathered at Muliro Gardens and Kanduyi Stadium.

Missing too in the entourage, were Jubilee aligned leaders from the region’s counties, apart from Bumula MP Boniface Otsula, who is the deceased’s local MP.

Khalwale used the occasion to mourn and at the same time affirm his interest to run for the Kakamega gubernatorial seat against his nemesis Wycliffe Oparanya. “You can vote for anyone you like (either Oparanya if you love him or even Khalwale) but what I know is that Oparanya will go home in 2017,” he said to a cheering crowd at Kakamega Approved School grounds where hundreds gathered to view the body of Juma.

He warned governors in the larger Western region to desist from corruption, which is killing counties. “Let the governors not steal public money because they may be tempted to kill those of us who expose them in an attempt to hide truth like it was the case with Jacob Juma,” he said.

Governor Oparanya did not have the opportunity to respond to Khalwale as has been the tradition because he (erred) by speaking before Khalwale, who ushered in ODM leader Raila to the podium.

Angry youth heckled him down, demanding to know why he “frustrated” Wetang’ula at Kakamega’s Muliro Gardens during the launch of his presidential bid last month.

Waluke said people want to create political millage out of Juma’s funeral.

“Few politicians from the Luhya nation made an effort to get to his home after they heard he was shot but today claim he was their close associate,” said Waluke at a funeral mass at Juma’s Mungore village where the body was later flown. He added, “We ask church leaders to be strict on leaders who want to milk politics out of our brother’s death tomorrow.”

There were no police officers at all venues as ODM youth took charge in Kakamega while their Ford Kenya counterparts were in control in Bungoma.

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