Cautious contingency measures lock out hundreds from funeral service
By Alvin Mwangi and Bernard Gitau
Hundreds of mourners were left angry after being barred from accessing the Nyayo Stadium to witness the State Funeral service of the late President Daniel arap Moi.
The mourners started to queue at the stadium as early as 5am stadium and were only allowed in at 7.30am, but then security agencies were forced to lock the gates at 9.30am.
To avert a stampede and overcrowding at the main stadium, security officers that comprised Military Police, General Service Unit (GSU), general duty police officers among other units were forced to disperse the ever-growing impatient crowd.
After the closure of the general public gates, the VIPs entrance and the entrance where the former President’s body was to be brought into the stadium, those outside the stadium found their dreams of according Moi a final farewell shattered.
The previous day, Government Spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna had asked Kenyans planning to attend the service to by 8am.
After the closure of the gates, the crowd that had been lock out almost turned unruly and tried to force their way in to the stadium. They were heard singing in unison; “Maziwa ya Nyayo” as they waved newspapers.
Efforts to restore order failed forcing the overwhelmed officers on horsebacks to call for reinforcement from the military, who unleashed security dogs to scare them away.
The dogs sent the crowd scampering for dear life. Those unlucky went home with scratches and marks.
With no TV screens for the crowd outside the Nyayo Stadium to follow the proceedings, those stayed put resorted to singing songs in praise of Moi until 2pm when the ceremony ended.
One of those locked out of then stadium was Willis Kyalo, who came from Machakos. He was disappointed not to get a chance to enter the stadium despite trying to get there early.