In Summary
  • Kenyans have, numerous times, vented about politicians who shamelessly hijack burial ceremonials to talk about themselves.
  • I recently attended a funeral and it was such a draining and frustrating experience.
  • Politician after politician stood up, and immediately after the token “Pole kwa msiba” line, they launched into what had really taken them there in the first place.

After my acutely distressing experience a few weeks ago, I strongly feel that I should draw up a petition that will hopefully pass a law prohibiting politicians from attending burials, and if they must attend, they should not be given a chance to utter a single word. They should not even be allowed to wave nor should they be acknowledged.

Allow me to say it as it is — a majority of our politicians are mannerless. True, this subject is nothing new, exasperated Kenyans have vented about it numerous times on social media, that of politicians who shamelessly hijack burial ceremonials to talk about themselves and the supposedly great things they have done for wananchi instead of commiserating with the family that is mourning. Until recently, my outrage at this preposterous behaviour was triggered by the brief clips I’d watch on TV each time an ‘important’ person died or during the burial of a relative of an important person. It wasn’t fuelled by personal experience.

Well, not long ago, I attended a burial somewhere in Nyeri County which was infused with politicians and other ‘notables’. It was such a draining and frustrating experience, several times, I had to stop myself from pulling out my hair with exasperation and impatience.

Politician after politician stood up, and immediately after the token “Pole kwa msiba” line, they launched into what had really taken them there in the first place. To chest-thump, politic, mudsling and campaign for the 2022 general election. It was appalling. Two hours later, by the time the area chief was finally given a chance to address mourners, the rest of us were either ready to drop dead from mental fatigue, or lynch the insensitive bunch of people.

I had found a seat in a tent opposite the one where the deceased’s family was seated, so I could see the distress that those unfortunate individuals were subjected to, especially the man’s wife and children. It is bad enough to bury someone you love. No one has the right to exacerbate your pain further by gatecrashing the day you say a final goodbye to your loved one to further his or her agenda.

The fact is that every burial that is attended by a politician turns into a spectacle and detracts from the intended purpose, which is to commiserate with those who are in mourning. They end up stealing the show, with everyone craning their necks to see this person they’ve only seen on TV, or fighting to get a glimpse of their big shiny cars. Simply put, they are a distraction, a distraction that should be done away with.

As I sat there, I could only imagine what that poor widow and her children were put through that day, being forced to sit unmoving in their misery on hard chairs an extra two hours, time that had not been factored in the burial programme. If I was that upset, how were those who were directly mourning the man feeling?

The writer is the Editor, Society and Magazines cnjunge@ke.nationmedia.com