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Family in mourning as wedding turns into funeral

The family, relatives and friends of Mr John Mwangi had spent more than two months preparing for his wedding day, oblivious that death would snatch him away a day to the set date.

Food, seats and tents that were to be used during the wedding will be used at his funeral on a day yet to be set after he plunged into Kirandich Dam near Kabarnet in Baringo county on Friday.

Relatives and friends were busy unpitching tents at St Luke Catholic Church Miloleni in Kabazi and ferrying them to Mwangi’s home to set them up yet again for mourners.

Seats and food was brought all the way from Keringet where Mwangi was working.

A sombre mood engulfed the village as women started preparing food for mourners at his parents’ home.

Mwangi, 25, was driving the priest’s car when it plunged into Kirandich dam in Kabarnet as he went to collect his fiancee’s parents early Friday morning. His friend, Mr David Mungai, survived the accident.


The church leaders described Mwangi as a down-to-earth devoted Christian who had served the church since childhood as an altar-boy. He was working at the Keringet Catholic Parish office.

The Church secretary, Mr Joseph Kamau, said: “We have lost a good young man. He was still serving the church in Keringet, in Kuresoi.”

Mr Kamau’s sentiments were echoed by two other church leaders, church members and neighbours.

According to Mr David Mungai, a friend of Mr Mwangi’s who survived the tragedy, they arrived at the dam and alighted from their vehicle to admire the scenery.

“Mwangi was driving when he tried to answer his phone and did not notice a bend. The vehicle plunged into the dam,” said Mr Mungai.

He managed to clamber to safety but not his friend. The body was retrieved by police 24 hours later.

Baringo County Police Commander Peter Ndung’u said that it was difficult to retrieve the body from the dam as it had swollen following heavy rains.


Mwangi’s friend, George Abiero, said they had talked on the phone. “I called him about 30 minutes later but his phone was off. I went to Kabarnet only to hear the bad news.”

The bride’s mother Dorcas Kobilo, who hails from Kabartonjo in Baringo North sub-county, said it was a most unfortunate incident, considering that the deceased was coming to pick them for the wedding.

“He called me around 8.30am telling us to get ready. It’s unfortunate that this was not to be,” said Ms Kobilo.

Residents who spoke to the Sunday Nation called on the government to fence off the killer dam, saying that would be the only lasting solution to the perennial problem.

Chebano location Senior Chief Japheth Bowen raised concern over the growing number of deaths at the 40-metre dam.

Kirandich Dam with a capacity of 3.7 million cubic litres supplies water to more than 60,000 people in Kabarnet town and its environs.

Reports by: Wanjiru Macharia, Florah Koech and Wycliff Kipsang