, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Tears and anguish marked a memorial service for six people who died at Sunday’s grenade attack at Uhuru Park.
Grace Abunga moved the congregation to tears as she narrated her sorrow following the demise of her eight-year-old son Bravo Ingesi. She described the young Bravo as “my hope for the future who I hoped would go through school and help us.”
“I have brought up the child with a lot of problems,” said the mother of five. “This came as a big shock. I ask that you pray for me.”
Joseph Muiruri who lost his brother Maina in the blast could not hold back his tears either. Muiruri had lived with his brother for three months after completing his secondary school.
“He was a faithful person who took care of my business so well,” said Mr Muiruri.
David Ireri was just one week into his job when he met his death. His relative described him as a “visionary brother who had great dreams.” Mr Ireri had just started plans for his wedding.
David Kenyatwa lost his younger brother Peter Githaiga. He said he should have been in the meeting but a last minute call by his football club ‘saved’ him from the tragedy. His biggest fear is the welfare of his deceased brother’s wife who is pregnant.
The two other blast victims did not have family members present at the memorial.
The prayer service was held at the All Saints Cathedral after City Hall denied church leaders a permit to hold it at the venue of the blast. Canon Peter Karanja of the National Council of Churches of Kenya said the church stood firm in rejecting the proposed Constitution.
“A draft that cost people’s lives since they said they don’t like it… who wants it?” he posed.
Anglican Archbishop Dr Eliud Wabukala who hosted the service called for sobriety and deliberate negotiations to bring together a divided Kenya. He called for concerted efforts towards unity in the country as the referendum campaigns progress.
“Let’s go back to the boardroom, re-evaluate the strategies and get a document or a position that makes this country proud. Let us make this nation one,” he urged.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was at the memorial service to deliver condolences from President Mwai Kibaki. Mr Musyoka reiterated the government’s commitment to investigate the blast and prosecute the perpetrators.
He used the opportunity to reiterate his reconciliatory approach to the constitution review debate saying scenes like last Sunday’s were signs of intolerance.
“I know the President has asked Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Charity Ngilu to lead negotiations with the church for the unity of this country,” said the VP who has in the past been accused of being indecisive after calling for negotiations despite being in the Yes camp.