Shame as Raila, Riggy G turn burials into shouting contest
Rather than take time to console with the bereaved family, politicians in Kenya have made it a habit to chest thump and exchange not so pleasant words at funerals at each other during funeral.
In the recent case, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and opposition leader Raila Odinga engaged in a war of words at the funeral service of Mau Mau war veteran John Kagwe alias Brigadier Kiboko at his home in Nyandarua County.
The late Kagwe is remembered for his contribution in fighting the colonialist and ensuring that Kenya gains independence so it was expected that his send off would be graced with mourners from all walks of like, including politicians.
But then, instead of sharing courtesy and respect to the beareaved family, the two leaders engaged in a war of words over a myriad of issues, among them the recent anti-government demonstrations and ongoing National Dialogue between the government and opposition.
Odinga, while addressing Gachagua, urged the government to restrict police officers from firing live ammunition at civilians during demonstrations.
“There is no lunatic who will just go out on the streets to protest if there is no issue; that’s why even in France, people are on the streets. Now, Riggy G, there’s no harm in people talking, let them talk; even if you don’t want to listen to my words, just listen,” said Odinga.
“And again, I want to tell you not to worry, we don’t want nusu mkate… I don’t want to be Prime Minister, that’s all in the past… so you take it slow…,”
“Let Kenyans talk and listen to each other, we will find solutions in the middle; if we stand together as patriotic Kenyans, we can solve our problems. The thing we should stop is the police from shooting our people with bullets,” Odinga added.
DP Gachagua, in response, told off Odinga for what he termed as exploiting a Constitutional loophole to conduct “violent demonstrations.”
The DP said while the right to picket is enshrined in law, the Constitution does not allow for violence and mass looting of citizen property in the process.
“Our Constitution has express provision for demonstrations, picketing, and all that goes with it, and that is why we allowed you and your people to do it, but what you did was not demonstrations; ilikuwa ni kuharibu na kupora mali ya Wakenya, na kuiga polisi na mawe,” he said.
“Those were not demonstrations, that was theft, looting, destruction of property, and it cannot be allowed in this Republic. So, as you’ve said you will talk, continue with the discussions, we have sent Kimani Ichung’wah, you have sent Kalonzo Musyoka, let them continue. The President and I are focused on matters of roads, water, electricity… Do you want us to work or just engage in talks? We are here for work,” Gachagua said.
The two politicians would have at least given the bereaved family respect and even the Mau Mau veteran.