Burials will no longer be used as battlegrounds for political titans. Tired of brawls and shameful scenes witnessed doing funerals graced by politicians, Kisii elders and clergy have declared that ‘enough is enough’.
The leaders who have had firsthand experience of politicians with divergent views exchanging blows before grieving families and at the alter have developed a code of conduct for funerals that seeks to steer burial ceremonies from verbal altercations in honour of the dead and also tame ‘uncivilized politicians’ and other mourners.
The joint code has been drawn by the Abagusii Culture and Development Council chairman James Matundura, ACK Southern Nyanza Diocese, Bishop John Omangi and SDA, South Kenya Conference Pastor James Miyienda.
They demand that mourners and funeral organisers, regardless of their status, must adhere to the code that bars political talk and stipulates how the ceremony will be conducted in line with the church and families’ wishes.
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The code has been copied to the interior ministry recommending that action to be taken against violators in the hope that it can receive official backing to restore respect for the dead and traditions and norms that have been violated.
According to the code, the church will reclaim its place and will play its key role in comforting the bereaved and offering spiritual nourishment.
Burial ceremonies will be brief eliminating long irritating speeches by politicians who use the space to sell their agenda.
Speeches by the bereaved family have been controlled. They have been allocated two hours to speak between 9 am and 11 am after which the church will take over concluding the ceremony by 1 pm.
The code proposes that mourners will confine their short speeches to condoling the bereaved family, singing or praying.
Ferrying of youths by some politicians to funerals to cheer them or cause chaos has been banned too.
Political leaders who engage in politics will be kicked out.
Tensions have marred burials attended by leaders from both sides of the political divide who have traded accusations and exchanged bitter words before the grieving family, in a shameful display of confrontations.
A fistfight between Dagoreti MP Simba Arati and South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro during the funeral of Abel Gongera, father to Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi last month seems to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back prompting the Kisii leaders to look for ways of taking charge.
Former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama almost engaged wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in a fistfight at the funeral of Bishop Bernard Nguyo held in Kathiyani, Machakos County. Muthama had to be restrained by Machakos town MP.
It however remains to be seen whether the funeral code of conduct will be adopted and adhered to.