Natembeya, Wetang’ula supremacy battle turns ugly, disrupts burial

A burial at Goseta area in Kwanza Sub County in Trans Nzoia turned chaotic after supporters of National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula and those of Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya clashed.

The chaotic scenes erupted when rival groups clashed ending the burial prematurely and families were forced to bury their kin before speeches by leaders.

Anti-riot police had to use tear gas to disperse rowdy youths from both camps turned chaotic as a tear gas dropped where Governor Natembeya and MCAs were seated forcing the leaders to flee for their safety.

Tension started building when Wetang’ula arrived at the home of former nominated MCA Philip Nyongesa to attend the burial of his wife Sandra Nyongesa.

The latter was a staff at the Trans Nzoia county government.

Trouble started immediately when the mass service ended as the two groups started shouting at each other after the arrival of Governor Natembeya who came later after the national assembly speaker had arrived.

Natembeya took his seat at a tent directly opposite where Wetang’ula, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha, MPs Ferdinand Wanyonyi and Maurice Bisau, Bungoma senator Wafula Wakoli and other Ford Kenya leaders were seated.

A standoff ensued for almost three hours as the two groups shouted at the burial amid tight security provided to Wetang’ula and Natembeya.

Police made several unsuccessful attempts to push away the unruly youths.

At one time, the officers lobbed tear gas to the youth and during the melee several were injured.

Wetang’ula and Natembeya watched in disbelief from their seats as the ceremony turned chaotic.

Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi ordered that the church official take the body to the grave as he disallowed speeches from political leaders.

Wetang’ula, on the other hand, was whisked to the back of the tent as violence intensified.

After calm returned, Wetang’ula, Dr Nakhumicha, Bisau, Wakoli and Wanyonyi addressed the family.

Wetang’ula condemned the incident and blamed Natembeya for the fracas.

“The ceremony was peaceful until the Governor arrived. He is responsible for the fracas and I ask the government to take action and bring to book the leaders who sparked violence,” said Wetang’ula.

He said there should be sacred cows for people fanning violence. The law must apply to all Kenyans irrespective of their positions.

Dr Nakumicha said she would table hooliganism problems before the Cabinet for debate.

“ I’m going to table this incident before the cabinet to ensure those responsible are held accountable,” she said.

Natembeya convened a press conference where he condemned the incident and put the blame on Wetang’ula.

” The MP for Kwanza Ferdinand Wanyonyi had warned me not to attend the burial but there was no way out I could skip the event since the deceased was my staff. Some people had been organized and paid to disrupt the burial for supremacy interests and it is shameful for them to start blaming me,” Natembeya asserted.

He faulted the police action to direct tear gas at him after directives from a senior government official.

Trans Nzoia County Commissioner Gideon Oyagi warned leaders in the area against political intolerance and chaos adding that the government will deal with them

“This should be the last time to see such incidents especially in a burial where a family is bereaved. We will not allow any leader to risk the lives of innocent residents,” warned Oyagi who arrived at the burial to calm the situation.

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