Government officials on Friday temporarily interrupted the burial ceremony of deceased Member of County Assembly Joyce Mwangoji in Ngerenyi, Taita Taveta over non adherence to Covid-19 regulations.
Hundreds of mourners had gathered at Ngerenyi grounds in Mwatate sub county to witness the final send-off of the MCA, who passed last Sunday.
Mwatate Assistant County Commissioner (ACC) Denis Juma interrupted the ongoing service and demanded only the allowed number people to remain for the burial ceremony.
In March, a Presidential directive ordered burials to be conducted within 72 hours of a person's death, with funerals limited to family only and attendance capped at 100 people as part of efforts against Covid-19.
Among those who were in attendance were Deputy governor Majala Mlaghui, Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako, Woman Representative Lydia Haika, MCAs, former Governor John Mruttu and hundreds of mourners.
The Assistant County Commissioner said the government had laid out the regulations which must be followed by all residents.
"We had communicated earlier and told the family that they must observe the government protocols. The family gave us a list of people and those are the ones we want to see here," he told the leaders and family members during the altercation.
The ceremony, was however allowed to go on, after the leaders intervened but those in attendance were asked to observe social distancing and put on their face masks.
"I will make my speech short because we want to abide by the government protocols," said Ms Mlaghui during her speech.
Ms Mlaghui, Ms Haika, MP Mwashako and assembly speaker Meshack Maghanga were forced to give their short tribute to beat the allocated time.
They mourned the departed MCA as an advisor and a mentor.
"What I will live to remember about her is how she used to advice and mentor women in leadership. We have had many forums where she shared her experience both in politics and her fight for women rights. We need to ensure that we continue with that kind of leadership to ensure that her legacy lives on," Ms Haika said.
The late MCA was the assembly's deputy majority chief whip and the chairperson of Maendeleo ya Wanawake in Taita Taveta.
Ms Mlaghui and Ms Haika said they will ensure that pieces of land belonging to Maendeleo ya Wanawake will be secured to enable the group develop them.
The 73-year old was nominated by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in 2017. She unsuccessfully run for Mwatate parliamentary seat in 2002 and 2007 elections.
ODM leader Raila Odinga also sent his tribute through the county party chairperson Richards Tairo. Mr Odinga mourned Ms Mwangoji as a highly valued and respected member of the party and a dedicated leader.
"We were humbled by her compassion for people around her and we have lost a great servant," he said.
Taita Taveta assembly on Wednesday passed a motion on the adoption and approval of the County's policy on eradication of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) in honour of the late MCA.
The policy, which was tabled by the assembly's Gender committee chairperson Martha Kenio, will also see the county government initiate projects and programs to address the root causes of SGBV and related issues to curb the vice.
It will also ensure free treatment for SGBV victims at county health facilities and ensure that they get justice.
The policy which is in line with the national government regulations will also provide a kitty to cater for SGBV programmes to tackle the increased cases in the region.
Ms Haika said the assembly's decision was a good progress which help stakeholders to deal with SGBV issues that keep increasing in the county.
"I want to congratulate the assembly because this is a move in the right direction. Our late MCA championed for this and you have really made her proud," she said.
Ms Mwangoji was later buried at her home in Kisaghala village in a ceremony led by Taita Taveta's Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Bishop Liverson Mng'onda.