Tension as 300 turn up for ‘burial’ at Njenga home

June 21, 2014 1:55 pm

, MAASAI-MORANSNAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – There was tension at Maina Njenga’s home in Kitengela on Saturday as about 300 mourners arrived for a cancelled burial ceremony.

Police had to move in and remove them from the compound as a group of Maasai Morans assembled near the home thinking there was a plan to proceed with the funeral despite cancellation by Njenga.

Athi River Deputy County Commissioner Khodhek Makori told reporters at the scene that an agreement had been reached with Njenga that the burial be suspended until further notice.

“We will not allow security to deteriorate further than we had seen if he went on with the burial. Fortunately we agreed with him and he accepted that he can put on hold the burial until he agrees with the community and also understand what their grievances are because according to him, he did not know what their grievances were,” he said.

He indicated that activities had to be stopped at the home so that the situation may not escalate further.

“Despite this agreement, these activities continued in the home and these Maasais were getting more agitated because today was to be the burial. And while there were people there, we thought anything could happen and the morans have been here for a whole week. We thought their patience was wearing out so we deployed to ensure there is no lapse in security and for that one reason we thought that those who had come to the funeral should not stay in the compound,” he stated.

Controversy surrounding the burial has led to sharp divisions with the Maasai community who are linking Njenga’s presence in the area to rising insecurity.

“Maina is someone we do not understand. You find rotting bodies which are discovered by our animals as we are grazing them. It is now going to be said that we the Maasai are the ones who are killing people and burying them here,” Peter ole Lange stated.

The Maasai said that while the community may have legally sold the land to Njenga, they wanted him to vacate it as he had brought a bad omen to the area.

They stated that the area was peaceful even during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

They stated that they would refund the money he spent to buy his land, if that’s what it takes to get him out of there.

The angry residents said they have set camp near Njenga’s farm to make sure no burial will take place.

They had slaughtered 15 goats which will serve as their meal during the vigil.


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