By Baraka Karama and Brian Okoth
Ohangla musician Abenny Jachiga was buried at 1:30am on Saturday, June 13, K24 Digital has learnt.
Police officers arrived at the musician’s home in Kolwa East, Chiga Sub-Location, Kisumu East Constituency a few minutes past 1am, and proceeded straight to the gravesite, where they lowered his body to the burial pit in an exercise that lasted less than 15 minutes.
Unlike during the day when hundreds of mourners successfully protested against the burial of the musician, this time around, a larger contingent of police officers was deployed with strict instructions from their superiors — ensure that the artiste is buried by all means.
The law enforcement officers wanted the exercise conducted in such a discreet manner that they ordered Jachiga’s widow and mother not to be at the gravesite, fearing they (widow and mother) would be overwhelmed and, as a result, cry loudly, consequently attracting the neighbours’ attention.
Only five family members were allowed to take part in the singer’s burial, which was largely run by the police officers.
Disarray occasioned by a Ministry of Health directive on burial of the deceased during this COVID-19 crisis and Kisumu locals’ culture, resulted in the aborted interment exercise of celebrated Jachiga on Friday, June 12.
After refusing to have Abenny Jachiga buried without a public-viewing Friday morning, mourners in Kolwa East, Kisumu East Constituency managed to arm-twist police officers tasked to oversee the burial.
Helpless and overpowered, police allowed the hundreds of mourners to carry the late musician’s casket from his home in Kolwa East Ward to the nearby Kadiju Primary School, where members of the public viewed Achiga’s remains for one hour and thirty minutes — from 2pm to 3:30pm.
At around 4pm, the late musician’s body had been returned to his home for burial.
Earlier Friday while protesting against Jachiga’s “rushed” burial, the mourners refilled the grave that had been dug for the late musician.
At 4pm, the same mourners, after being allowed to view the artiste’s body as per their wish, emptied the grave, again. A wheelbarrow, iron sheets, musical instruments among other objects were removed from the grave.
And, when police lifted the musician’s casket to lower it into the grave, the mourners began screaming and shouting that the cops were burying their loved one without observing rituals, which included praying for the dead.
It was at that point that the grievers, in their hundreds, carried Jachiga’s coffin and vowed to take it to an “unknown destination” until a recognised pastor gets called to preside over Jachiga’s burial.
While heading to Kisumu Town, the mourners rerouted their journey to St. Elizabeth Hospital morgue in Chiga Sub-Location, where the body was booked for storage at 5pm. They vowed to keep vigil at the mortuary so that police “don’t take it against their wish and bury it hurriedly at night”.
K24 Digital learnt that by 6:30pm Friday, police reinforcements had been deployed to St. Elizabeth Hospital to disperse the crowd.
As of that time, it was unclear whether Jachiga’s body would be buried later Friday night in compliance with Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s directive, which stipulates that burials, during the COVID-19 crisis, should take place within six hours after a body is released from the morgue.
Jachiga’s remains had, until 9am Friday, been preserved at the Port Florence Community Hospital morgue. At 9:30am, the late artiste’s body arrived at his home as a throng of mourners flocked the area to oppose his hurried burial exercise.
The mourners said they were protesting against Kisumu County’s move to bury Jachiga within 24 hours after his death in compliance with Ministry of Health directive.
The grievers refilled a grave that had been dug by the county health officers in preparation of Abenny’s burial later Friday, June 12.
A section of the mourners, who spoke to K24 Digital, said they “hadn’t been given enough time to mourn their beloved chartbuster”.
“Abenny Jachiga was not any other person, he was a musician who united all of us. We cannot allow him to be buried within 24 hours after his death,” said one of the grievers.
Abenny Jachiga’s remains were transported from Port Florence Community Hospital morgue to his Kolwa East home in a police van on Friday morning as hundreds of boda boda operators escorted his body while chanting dirges.
On May 28, Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o directed that the removal of bodies from mortuaries across the county would be done not later than 9.30am and buried within six hours.
It is that directive that the mourners have vowed to defy, even going ahead to refill the late heavy-hitter’s grave and demanding they be given at least one week to mourn their loved one.
Abenny Jachiga, a popular Ohangla musician whose real name is Bernard Obonyo, succumbed to pneumonia at 2am on Thursday, June 11 at St. Jairus Hospital in Kisumu, his close friend and Kisumu’s Kolwa East Ward MCA Steve Owiti told K24 Digital.
The Mano Kasinde hit-maker was taken to the hospital in critical condition on Tuesday, June 9 after developing breathing complications at his home in Chiga, Kisumu East.
Prior to his hospitalisation at St. Jairus Hospital, which is located on the Kisumu-Busia Road, Jachiga, had a few days ago, been admitted at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu, where he was treated and discharged.
The musician is survived by a widow and two children (a son who is in Class Three, and a daughter who is in Class Four).
Jachiga died aged 33.
Abenny Jachiga is known for the Luo song Mano Kasinde which is a corrupted word borrowed from English language to mean “her cousin”. In the song, the artiste sings that a section of women nowadays often dupe men by claiming every man they are flirting with is their cousin. The music composition, which was uploaded to YouTube on May 30, 2018, has since garnered over 1.25 million views.
His other songs include: Penzi ni Kama Yai, Maraga Odagi, Nancy Nyar Ugenya, Ayaye, among others.