Politicians turn funerals to theatre of brazen insolence
Political dust is up in the air in Bungoma county where incidents of violence and disruption are on the rise, especially during funerals which have been turned into battlegrounds for campaigns ahead of next year’s General Election.
On the spot are Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and Senator Moses Wetang’ula.
Funerals attended by Wangamati have often been disrupted by supporters opposed to his style of leadership. His supporters have never left anything to chance whenever they see any politician or individuals criticising his development record.
Wetang’ula’s supporters are accusing Wangamati of having sponsored a coup in Ford Kenya where the senator was to be dethroned from his leadership position.
The chaotic scenes at funerals started last year during the burial of Kabuchai MP James Lusweti where Wangamati was booed and forced to cut his speech short by both Wetang’ula and Lusaka supporters.
Frequent jeers and boos
Wangamati supporters frequently jeer, boo or harm anyone who speaks ill of him at funerals.
Last week during the burial of Bishop Patrick Wanjala at Bakhwan village in Bumula, Lusaka condemned the chaos in funerals saying it amounts to disrespecting the bereaved families.
“They should not think that when we are here we have left our hands at home,” said Lusaka.
However Wangamati’s communication director Tim Machi dismissed claims of fighting in funerals. He said like in the case of Kabuchai MP Kalasinga Majimbo, he is the one who invited it even as he came to the defence of the governor, saying he was a peace loving person, who could not engage in fights with any leader.
“Majimbo should respect leaders and stop provocation.
During the burial of Christine Wasike, one of the employees in the county government at Misikhu in Webuye West, supporters of Lusaka were beaten and roughed up by Wangamati supporters.
Before the dust could settle, chaos and fist fights erupted at the burial of Jane Muchehe, a Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson in Bungoma county which had been attended by Lusaka, Wetang’ula and deputy governor Charles Ngome.
Last month Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa was roughed up and forced to cut his speech by Wangamati supporter when he tried to criticize the governor at a funeral in Kibingei village.
On Saturday Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga’s bodyguard was roughed up by supporters of Wangamati as the MP made his way to a funeral at Kimalewa village in his constituency.
Don’t share podium
Such incidents have made both Lusaka and Wetang’ula not to share the same podium with Wangamati at funeral ceremonies. A cross section of leaders in the county have expressed fears and condemned the emerging violence on leaders in funerals.
Both Majimbo and Barasa have vowed not to be cowed in their own constituencies by Wangamati supporters who were out to silence them. “We were elected like him and we are not going to be silenced by his hired goons,” vowed Majimbo.