A funeral procession in Kakamega County has turned into a violent squabble that has roped in Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.
On Thursday night and Friday morning, goons armed with sticks disrupted the procession taking the body of Mr Brown Tsuma Muganda for burial in Eshikhoni village in Navakholo Constituency.
The goons are said to have stormed the home of Ms Linet Muganda, Mr Tsuma's sister-in-law, as his relatives sought to forcibly take his body for viewing in her compound.
Mr Washiali, who is Ms Linet's brother, tried to intervene by sending his aide and driver to settle the row but the goons allegedly smashed his vehicle's windows.
His aide and driver were also reportedly injured in the melee. A loaded pistol belonging to Mr Washiali's aide was stolen but was later found dumped in the compound but with the magazine, which had 15 bullets, missing.
Relatives of Mr Tsuma wanted to take his body to Ms Linet's home, his sister-in-law, for public viewing and then take it to his new home for burial.
Mr Tsuma had shared the home with his late brother, Joshua Ouya Muganda, who was Linet’s husband.
After Mr Ouya’s death in January this year, his relatives wanted to exclude Ms Linet from the burial arrangements but she successfully petitioned the court to allow her stay in the property and bury her husband contrary to their wishes.
Witnesses told the Nation that the death of Mr Tsuma on May 21 brought simmering tensions to the fore.
On Friday, Mr Amisi Muganda, Mr Brown’s brother said the decision to take the body to Ms Linet Muganda’s homestead was reached by family members and elders since he had lived there before moving to his new home.
The two groups have traded accusations, each claiming the other hired goons from Shianda to beat up mourners and villagers.
“We were only fulfilling tradition by ensuring the body of brother is brought to the compound briefly for viewing and them taken for burial at his home,” said Mr Amisi.
But Ms Linet claimed the goons stormed her compound, forcing her and those in the compound to hide.
“We are alive because we locked ourselves in the house and called for help from the police. You can see, they have smashed window panes ,” said Ms Muganda.
“What has happened is unfortunate and police should investigate and arrest those involved in the chaos,” said Mr Washiali on phone.
Navakholo Divisional police chief Paul Kuria said his team is investigating the incident.
“We are asking anybody who may have come across the bullets to hand them back to our officers. Keeping them amounts to a criminal offence,” said Mr Kuria.
The burial of Mr Tsuma is set for Saturday.