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MPs Sylvanus Osoro and Simba Arati engaged in a fist fight at a funeral in Kisii Monday in a dramatic scene in the presence of Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Kenya

Elders condemn politics in funerals after Arati and Osoro fight

KISII, Kenya Feb 2 – The Gusii Council of Elders has condemned politics in funerals after an ugly incident in Kisii where two politicians fought publicly on Tuesday.

Dagoreti MP Simba Arati and South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro engaged in a fist fight during the funeral of Abel Gongera, the father of Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi.

The council Chairman James Matundura said the incident was shameful and disrespectful to the bereaved family.

“We condemn the act of mourners talking so much politics, quarrels, calling others names in funerals and even fighting,” Matundura said.

The council has threatened to ban politics in funerals.

“The young generation has gone beyond boundaries of not respecting the dead,”said Matundura.

The council noted Burial is a cultural event that must be respected.

“Mzee Abel Gongera father to our Deputy Governor was a wonderful man who helped his community, he gave his land to the church and school and successfully brought up his family but it is unfortunate his good deeds were forgotten,” said Matundura.

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Osoro and Arati fought on the podium, during a funeral service attended by Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Trouble started when Arati rose to speak and castigated the hustler nation, the movement spearheaded by the Deputy President on empowering the youth and that is when Osoro shot up and went engaged him in a fist fight before they were separated by leaders present and their bodyguards.

The brief exchange temporarily halted the funeral.

So charged was the venue that youths allied to Ruto and those supporting Odinga kept chanting slogans.

And following the chaotic scene, Kisii Governor James Ongwae barred politicians from making speeches. Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga ejected from the podium.

When he rose to speak, Odinga called for unity in the country, urging Kenyans to support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which was borne out his peace agreement with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He castigated Ruto’s hustler movement, saying it is not a solution to the challenges facing the youth in the country before he left to address a roadside rally at Daraja Mbili in Kisii town.

The Deputy President on his part defended his movement, saying there was need to empower small business people to earn a living because “this is not the time to depend the government to fund big campanies to create jobs for kenyans.”

“I supported both President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 and Raila Odinga in 2007 but this time round I will support the hustlers because they will not disappoint me,” said Ruto.

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Ruto and Odinga have both expressed interest in vying for the presidency in 2022 when President Kenyatta’s second and final term comes to an end.

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