By Lenox Sengre.
ODM leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday left a section of Kenyans confused when he said that the Late Kibra MP Ken Okoth’s body will be “disposed off” on Saturday, August 3.
Addressing journalists at Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday noon, Raila shared Ken Okoth’s funeral arrangement in the wake of confusion on whether the deceased will be cremated or buried.
“After deliberations among the family members and the committee that was put together by the [ODM] Party, it has been agreed as follows: There is going to be a memorial service at the Starehe Boys’ Centre & School today [Wednesday, July 31] at 2pm. Tomorrow (Thursday, August 1), at 11am, there is going to be a funeral service at the Moi Girls’ High School in Nairobi. After that, there will be viewing of the body at the same venue,” said Mr Odinga.
“The body will be transported to Kabondo Kasipul Constituency [in Homa Bay County] on Saturday, August 3. There will be a funeral mass at Got Rateng’ Secondary School starting at 10am.
“Thereafter, the body will be disposed off after the funeral mass on Saturday,” said the ODM leader.
Pressed to explain what he meant by “Ken Okoth’s body will be disposed off”, Raila said: “Ken will be given to his family to do the rest, just like we did with Kenneth Matiba… So, the family will do the rest.”
Multi-party democracy champion Kenneth Matiba, who died on April 15, 2018, was cremated at the Lang’ata Crematorium on April 27, 2018.
Raila’s statement comes just a day after Ken Okoth’s mother, Angeline Ajwang Ongere, said she is opposed to her son being cremated.
“I am of the opinion that he be buried at Kabondo Kasipul in Homa Bay County, where I wake up and see his grave every day,” said Ms Ongere.
The source of claims that Ken Okoth would be cremated remains unknown.
Unconfirmed reports, however, say the Late parliamentarian had left behind a will with his wife, directing he should be cremated upon death.
According to a post spread widely on instant messaging app, WhatsApp, the Late MP “is scheduled to be cremated in a private function in Nairobi after requiem services at Starehe Boys’ Centre & School and Kabondo Kasipul in Homa Bay”.
Okoth’s mother says she “doesn’t know” who came up with the cremation claim.
Ms Ongere’s wish to have her son buried at Kabondo Kasipul has also been met by opposition from the ex-MP’s paternal side, who want Okoth interred at his father’s place in Kochia, Rangwe Constituency, Homa Bay County.
“We won’t have issues with anyone so long as they bring our son home and he be buried next to his father’s grave,” Ken Okoth’s aunt, Peris Aseto, told K24 Digital at the homestead of the ex-MP’s father in Rangwe Constituency.
“We do not want my brother to be cremated. The Luo traditions must be followed when according him the final send-off,” said Ken Okoth’s half-brother, Emmanuel Nyawanda.
Okoth’s parents, Nicholas Obonyo and Angeline Ajwang, separated in the 1980s, when Okoth was barely a teenager.
Ken Okoth then moved in with his mother to her ancestral home in Ogenga Village in Kabondo Kasipul Constituency.
The mother and son would later move to Kibra, where Okoth was raised.
Ms Ongere said she worked for the now-defunct Nairobi City Council for 26 years.
Okoth’s father was buried in Kochia in 1993 on a piece of land where his grandfather is also interred.