THE Government yesterday denied Maina Njenga a burial permit for his wife slain during the Laikipia attack on his motorcade in which three other people lost their lives in May.
This officially means that the burial, scheduled to take place in his Kitengela farm, Nkurrunka, where Cord leader Raila Odinga was to be among invited mourners, has been put off. Raila had indicated he will be with Njenga during the burial of his wife, Grace Wairimu Nyambere.
The four who were shot and killed by assailants as Njenga rode in a two-car convoy included Dickson Mwangi, Wairimu Chege and John Ndung’u and were to be buried this coming Saturday, June 21.
Yesterday Kajiado deputy county police commander Joel Lang’at said the permit had been denied owing to the precarious prevailing security situation and also after local Maasai elders opposed the burial of former Mungiki sect members in the area.
More than 2,000 Maasai settlers in Kitengela’s Kaputie Plains that surround Njenga’s Nkurrunka farm held a meeting at the Sheep and Goats Farm and warned that any attempt by Njenga to bury the four in his land would be met with a “revolt” from the local people.
The Maasai leaders who called the meeting included the chairman of the 1,500-acre Sheep and Goats Farm on the border of Kajiado and Machakos, James Turere, the chairman of the Kitengela Slaughterhouse Association, William Kasio, and political activist David Parseina.
Speaking to the Star on the phone, Njenga said; “It is true I have been denied the permit to bury wife in my Nkurrunka farm. The police at Kitengela station said I will not be allowed to bury my people on Saturday, but I will go ahead with the programme.”
Njenga was however not specific that he will defy police orders to stop the burial, which was also to have been attended by other Cord leaders. “I just keep asking myself what is wrong in burying my people in my own farm?” Njenga remarked.
Kasio told the Maasai meeting that the people of Kajiado were forced to take a stand on the burial after it became evident that those who were going to be buried are former Mungiki sect members.
“We are not against any community in this county, in fact we like our neighbours but we are not happy with the presence of Hope International Church that is linked to former Mungiki sect members. We are telling Njenga to seek another Church and we shall accept him,” said Kasio.
Parseina said the people of Kajiado have the right to choose what is right for them and by accepting the burial arrangements of former Mungiki sect leaders in the area they would be compromising their own rights in the county. “We do not want them to believe that we can court them here,” added Parseina.
Parseina also wants the government to close down Njenga’s church in Kitengela, because the local people believe it is the source of insecurity in the area after the bodies of seven people killed in a fight over the church’s ownership and properties were found in the area.
Njenga has since denied knowledge of the killings, saying the dead were not people known to his church. Lang’at said the security of the local people is guaranteed and if they say no to the burial the police have no right to deny them what they want.
“It is their right to say what they want and those they do not want. Ours is to provide protection and support the rule of law. We are avoiding a clash between the local people and Hope International Church followers,” said Lang’at. The locals had earlier in the day appealed to the government to stop the burial for the sake of security.