BY RAYMOND MWAKWAYA
And ONESMUS BARAKA
Mombasa County deputy governor Dr William Kingi’s father’s burial turned into a verbal brawl between the Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna after the former grabbed microphone from the latter during a burial ceremony at Jilore in Kilifi County.
The altercation caught the leaders and mourners by surprise after a visibly ‘restless and irritated’ Ms Jumwa, who was acting as the master of ceremony (MC), cut short Sifuna’s speech when he veered off to talk about party issues forcing the former to walk straight to the podium and roughly grabbed the microphone from him.
Through a tirade of words, Ms Jumwa told off the party SG for introducing ‘ODM politics’ in the funeral saying he should ‘respect’ the Mijikenda people who had gathered there to mourn DG’s late father, Edward Kingi.
This verbal confrontation sparked murmurs among the mourners with some backing her while other mourners showed contempt over her abrasive behaviour towards the ODM boss.
With anger boiling, the MP yelled: “Stop bringing politics Mr SG. We have come here for one reason, to mourn and condole with the family of the late.”
Without uttering a word, the shell-shocked Mr Sifuna stood transfixed as the MC charged towards him before grabbing the microphone and ejecting him from the podium by calling the Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire to address the gathering.
Earlier, while recognising the leaders present at the funeral ceremony, Ms Jumwa deliberately declined to recognise the Likoni MP Mishi Mboko who during the Labour Day celebration took a swipe at the beleaguered MP (Jumwa) for her ‘uncouth’ language towards the COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli.
The Malindi lawmaker told the SG not to use the funeral event for party politics saying if that was his intention then he should look for an ODM platform where he could talk about his party’s procedures or regulations.
Dr Kingi had invited the ODM boss to relay the party leader Raila Odinga’s condolence message after he had earlier promised to attend the funeral only to go to another one at his Siaya County home thus sending Mr Sifuna to represent him.
In his remarks, the SG said the ODM party was still strong and will only reward those loyal to it indirectly warning Ms Jumwa that her days are numbered in the party.
“Walk around but your days are very few. We need leaders who will respect their political parties despite their political views,” he added.
He told the mourners his party leader had sent him to grieve with the family adding that Mr Odinga was together with the family of the late Edward Kingi.
“You are among the people who have stood with the party and obeyed its principles and we shall reward you when that time comes,” he said in reference to Governor Kingi’s loyalty to ODM.
Speaking in the Mijikenda dialect, the Kilifi governor expressed his disappointment over the funeral altercation saying it was like ‘washing’ the dirty linen in public which should not have been the case.
Angry Kingi said that it was a big shame for visitors to be embarrassed and urged coastal leaders to respect mourners, their dead and those mourning with them.
“This is a shameful act. We have displayed our dirty linen in public and what should we expect our people to say about us out there?” he posed.
LACK OF UNITY
The governor decried the lack of unity among local leaders that had caused other leaders or people to disrespect them saying ‘this is a sad occurrence before our eyes’.
In an apparent reference to the TangaTanga and Kieleweke camps traversing the country in a show of who are the mightiest, Mr Kingi took a swipe at the groupings saying the local leadership should first work for the coastarians and do politics later when the 2022 presidential race sets in.
He distanced the Coast region from the camps being propelled by the Deputy President William Ruto’s wing and the other being spearheaded by those perceived to support the President Uhuru Kenyatta- Raila Odinga handshake.
According to him the two camps will not fully address the historical issues afflicting the coastal people who for years have endured manipulation and marginalisation under different regimes with ‘others’ benefiting socially, politically and economically.
The county boss, told the mourners at Jilore on Friday (April 3, 2019), to be patient and wait for a greenlight from their leaders as they are teaming up to form a formidable force that will chart the way forward for the region.
“We want to liberate our people and we can only do it once we unite. So I urge you not fall prey to any political pundits because there is nothing you will gain from them,” he added.
He called on local leaders to join hands and build one strong political party that will be the voice of the region and its people rather than ‘joining political wings with lest interest of its predicaments.
The rather reserved governor took issue with his party, ODM, for what he termed as ‘blackmailing’ the coastal people during the past general elections.
“We were made to believe that some leaders were not good for they were going to sell off our land as well as the Port of Mombasa, but it has turned not to be true! That’s why I am cautioning to be wary of political impostors,” he said.
Citing the Malindi-Kakoneni Sala Gate road which was said to be a campaign tool during the last general election, the governor observed that it came to pass and now the locals were enjoying it despite having voted for the Jubilee government.
Expressing his sentiments over the Jumwa-Sifuna clash, Mr Kingi emphasised the need for the ODM to have its house in order saying it did not matter how popular one could be but if his/her house is leaking then there is something wanting.
“We would not have witnessed this embarrassment if we had our own but it is so sad that we are political prisoners to certain political parties for no apparent reasons. We should stop this madness,” he said.
Before making any rash political decisions, the governor appealed to the coastal people to be patient and listen to the advice of its leadership that was working round-the-clock to come up with a strong political party for the next polls.
The funeral was graced by the former Kilifi North MP and currently Lands chief administration secretary Gideon Mung’aro among other local and national leaders.
Later, addressing the media on the sideline of the burial ceremony, Mr Sifuna said out of his respect for the women fraternity in the country he declined to retaliate when she accosted him on the podium.