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Double standards? Police allow tens of mourners at Nyeri funeral

Saturday June 06 2020
By NICHOLAS KOMU

The government is on the spot for applying double standards in enforcement of Covid-19 prevention regulations.

This comes amid accusations that preference is being given to politicians and well-connected individuals.

This was evident in Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe’s rural area in Mukurweini, Nyeri, Friday, where more than 400 people were allowed to attend the funeral of a retired teacher. The government limited the number of mourners attending a funeral to 15 close relatives.

However, for this particular funeral, a crowd of more than 400 locals from the Kihate were allowed to gather at Mutwewathi Primary School right under the watch of the police, leaders and senior Ministry of Health officials.

Health Director-General Patrick Amoth led a delegation to represent CS Kagwe, who was also expected to attend the ceremony.

Mukurweini MP Anthony Kiai and Nyeri County Assembly Speaker John Kaguchia also attended the funeral.

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A contingent of police officers and the Kenya Forest Service were posted at the venue to beef up security.

About 20 ushers had been posted at the entrance to screen mourners and hand out face masks to locals, many of whom showed up without them.

Hired goons were later deployed to bar the press from the grounds.

Nation journalists Joseph Kanyi and NTV’s Melita ole Tenges and Charles Muriithi were roughed up by the rowdy youths backed up by a KFS officer for recording proceedings at the funeral. They demanded that the scribes delete all recording and photos they had taken.

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Journalists from the Nation Media Group were roughed up for covering the funeral. PHOTO | NICHOLAS KOMU

The funeral went on uninterrupted and leaders present allowed to give speeches, including Dr Amoth.

The gathering comes barely a week after a widower spent a night at Tigania Police Station with his wife’s body after relatives were barred from proceeding to the home for burial.

A similar incident was witnessed in Mathira, Nyeri County, where Konyu Ward MCA Eric Wamumbi was not allowed by police to pay tribute to his wife. “I am saddened that the police have no respect for the church and no feelings towards a family that had lost a loved one. It is very sad as to how low we have gone,” Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said during Mr Wamumbi’s wife’s funeral.

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