Ruto and Raila meet at politically charged burial in Kisii

Chaos at Maangi father's burial

Police officers restore calm in Kisii County during the burial service for Deputy Governor Joash Maangi's father, Abel Gongera, on February 1, 2021.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga are sharing a podium for the first time this year at a charged event in Kisii County.

Their meeting comes amid heightened political activities ahead of the 2022 General Election, with some areas experiencing violence.

The two are attending the burial of Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi's father, Abel Gongera, a ceremony at which there is a heavy police presence.

Officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) and other security personnel are manning the event.

Reports indicated that there was heavy mobilisation of supporters from either side of the political divide, a week before the burial.

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Succession politics

Mr Odinga, who was accompanied  by Kisii Governor James Ongwae, received a hero’s welcome.

It is expected that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and succession politics will take centre stage.

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In his address to the mourners, Mr Maangi said, "I am grateful that this man lying here has brought together all these leaders. He was a great man who loved peace. Let his death unite us.”

A day before the ceremony, he said, "Let people come and mourn my father without causing chaos. Everyone is welcome here.”

Chaos

Chaos erupted at the funeral service taking place at Tendere stadium in Bomachoge Chache Constituency as Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati addressed the audience.

He had asked the DP to apologise for killings that took place in the Rift Valley following the disputed 2007 presidential election. Mr Maangi pleaded for peace.

Drama in Kisii as Senator Omanga is ejected from podium at a burial

Later, Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga was ejected from the crowd by people said to be goons.

Governor Ongwae pleaded for her to be allowed to address the crowd.

In his address, South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro  earlier claimed goons were hired to heckle him but Mr Maangi’s supporters denied this. They are both strong supporters of DP Ruto.

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