Mourners attending the funeral of Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi’s father were on Friday left in shock after Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa barred ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna from addressing mourners.
As Mr Sifuna began to speak, Ms Jumwa, who was the master of ceremonies, walked to the stage and grabbed the microphone from him, accusing him of “talking politics during funeral”.
Mr Sifuna had introduced himself as the messenger of ODM leader Raila Odinga, who had sent him to convey his message of condolence to the family of the late Edward Benjamin Kingi.
Mr Sifuna had begun his speech by stressing the need for the Orange party to be respected.
“As a messenger, I request to be given the respect the party leader would have been accorded. I have party responsibilities, and I do them without fear or favour. Sifuna did not make the law, and I am not targeting anybody,” he said.
It is at this point that Ms Jumwa shot up from her seat and confronted Mr Sifuna, stating: “Mr SG, kindly refrain from politics out of respect for the dead. We are not here for ODM politics but to condole with the bereaved.”
“We shall not allow this; respect the Mijikenda. Find another platform and speak about issues relating to ODM. We are here to mourn the dead and not politics,” she said as the crowd shouted, some voicing support and others jeering her.
As the drama unfolded, leaders present including Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, Michael Kingi (Magarini), Teddy Mwambire (Ganze), Kwale Senator Juma Boy and Likoni MP Mishi Mboko watched pensively.
Others were deputy governors Gideon Saburi (Kilifi), Patrick Saisi (Vihiga), Majala Mlagui (Taita Taveta) and Lands chief administrative secretary Gideon Mung’aro.
Ms Jumwa had caused a stir earlier when she introduced the political leaders present to the mourners, deliberately failing to mention the name of one of her fiercest critics in the Coast region, Ms Mboko.
It was not until the Kilifi deputy governor was called to the stage that he took the trouble of introducing Ms Mboko, who had come to represent Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho who is away in Germany on official duties.
It took the intervention of the bereaved, Mr Kingi, to re-invite Mr Sifuna to conclude his speech.
“I spoke with Mr Odinga on phone and he was to attend the funeral until something happened, and he decided to send Mr Sifuna to represent him,” Mr Kingi told the mourners.
Earlier, Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch, who was present, had told Ms Jumwa to go slow and stop abusing Mr Odinga.
The Coast MPs who spoke after the drama avoided politics in their speeches.
On his part, Governor Kingi criticised politicians for embarrassing themselves by fighting in public.