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Chaos at artiste Jachiga burial



Hundreds of frenzied mourners yesterday stopped the burial of Ohangla musician Abenny Jachiga in a day-long battle with police that left scores injured.

Police had to shoot in the air and lob teargas canisters to disperse defiant mourners who had hijacked the ceremony at the musician’s home in Chiga on the outskirts of Kisumu town.

The mourners even filled up the empty grave with boulders to stop the burial, claiming it was too hurried. Armed with stones, clubs, spades and hoes, they shrieked and demanded that the funeral be delayed for at least two days to enable Jachiga’s fans and relatives give him a dignified send-off since he did not die of Covid-19.

In what Luo elders yesterday described as an abomination that could bring a curse to the late Jachiga’s family, mourners, most of them women and boda boda riders, blocked family members from taking the body to the grave.

Mourners who covered the musician’s grave with soil camped at the graveside chanting while police held his body at the nearby school where viewing took place. However, the mourners accused police of hiding the musician’s body.

“They’ve hidden the body, but we will stand here until they return with it,” one of the mourners said. Elder Agalo Onyango said, “What has happened may bring a curse to the family. A grave once dug, cannot be covered with soil without the body in it. It is unheard of.”

Later at around 3pm, police tried to have the body buried after using teargas to disperse the mourners. The officers wanted to bury the body themselves and even came with a pastor.

But the crowd pelted them with stones and they fled together with the pastor.

The mourners then carried the body to St Elizabeth Hospital mortuary in Chiga, on foot.

“They have dispersed us. They have tried to remove the soil from the grave and bury the body but we have refused. There will be no burial today,” said a relative of the musician.

The police officers in five vehicles, reportedly under instructions not to use force, retreated after the mourners took away the body. “The mourners have taken possession of the body. They have insisted the burial will not take place,” said a resident, James Obonyo.

Kisumu County Commander Ranson Lelmodon described the chaos as unfortunate, saying the police were only deployed to ensure the body reached home and the mourners obeyed the public health rules. “It became difficult to enforce social distancing of about 5,000 people who have refused to move,” said Lelmodon.

Ohangla musician

Jachiga’s mother, Monica Auma, pleaded with the authorities to give her more time to mourn her son.

“I request to be given even two or three more days to mourn my son. I have many guests and relatives who cannot reach here today,” she told the Saturday Standard.

Trouble had started in the morning at the Port Florence Hospital when hundreds of mourners defied the social distancing rules and insisted to be allowed to view the body.

When the funeral procession approached Chiga Hospital, the mourners demanded that the body be kept at the facility’s mortuary to give room for more preparation, a demand the police rejected and ordered that it be interred, immediately.

As tension escalated, police allowed the body to be taken to nearby Kadiju Primary School for viewing, attracting thousands of mourners who formed long queues. By this time, the grave had been covered with soil by some of mourners opposed to the burial. But in the afternoon, more police officers were called to the scene and they tried to use force to have the body taken from the school, but the defiant mourners refused to give way.

Luckily, nobody was hurt as the police shot in the air in an attempt to hasten the burial, which initially was to be conducted by 11am to meet the county governments’ Covid-19 guidelines.

In what further angered elders, the coffin was discovered to have been damaged during the fracas, exposing part of Jachiga’s body. Attempts to have the damaged casket repaired with the body inside it failed. According to Covid-19 guidelines, a burial is supposed to be attended by close family members and relatives whose number should not exceed 15.

Jachiga — his real name Bernard Onyango — died at dawn on Wednesday at St Jairus Hospital where he was rushed after falling ill. Known for his provocative Ohangla love songs, Jachiga, 33, succumbed to pneumonia, according to his family.

Health officials yesterday launched investigations into the cause of death and had taken samples from the body, but sources said the samples tested negative for Covid-19. One of Jachiga’s most popular songs, Kasinde attacks unfaithful women who refer to all their lovers as “my cousin”.

The musician who lived at East Kolwa-Chiga location, Kisumu East Sub-county started his music career at the age of 21 as an instrumentalist. He released his hit song Kasinde in mid-2018 and is also known for other songs like Usidharau mwenzio, Penzi ni kama mayai and Simba manyo wendo. He is survived by a widow and five children.


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Concrete slum? Why Pipeline residents cover wet clothes with plastic bags



Though the Government banned plastics a few years ago, residents of Pipeline are not about to let go of them.

Plastics come in handy to those living in flats whenever they air their clothes out to dry. They use plastic covers to protect their clothes from dust or water dripping from the upper floors.

Most of the flats are up to seventh or eighth floor, each house built with a balcony, where one can tie a clothes line. During dry spells, the place is so dusty that hanging clothes without a plastic cover is a waste of time. They gather so much dust and end up looking unwashed.

It is for this reason that almost every storeyed building here has plastic covers covering clothesline. This might look strange to an outsider but for residents it is a normal occurrence.  Enock Mutua, a caretaker in one of the flats, said the practice is common and that tenants do it to keep their clothes clean.

“Here, there are flats of up to eight floors and people wash at different times. Some people have clothes that shed colour, others do not properly wring out excess water from the clothes and if you do not cover your clothes, you might find them ruined or wet long after you washed them,” said Mutua.

He added that when there are new apartments to be occupied, prospective tenants run for the top floors.

Love for top floors

“One is never sure unless you live in the top most floor. Some of the buildings have space on the roof tops for tenants to air clothes,” said Mutua.

He further said that many choose to put up with the “small problems” because houses are affordable.

“Most of the houses here are single rooms, bedsitters and one bedroom which range from Sh5,000 to Sh9,000,” said Mutua.

Derrick Chenge, a resident of Pipeline, said he would rather cover his clothes even if they stayed on the clothes line for three days than leave them uncovered to come and find them ruined.

“Have you seen the dust that is around here? I cannot allow it to go to my clothes, especially the white ones. I cover them all the time,” Chenge said.

He added that they were forced to do this because of insensitive neighbours who do not care whether others have clothes outside.

“The person who stays above you will not wait for your clothes to dry and ask you to remove them. It is up to you to protect your clothes,” Chenge said.


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Fear after Mombasa school principal dies from Covid-19



The principal of Tononoka Secondary School in Mombasa where 11 teachers tested positive for Covid-19 has died, county education officials have said.

County Education Chief Officer John Musuve said Mohamed Khamis (pictured) died at the Mombasa Hospital where he was receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Multiple sources revealed that Khamis was one of the 11 teachers who were infected with the virus at the school. We could not, however, independently verify whether he succumbed to Covid-19.

“Yes, I can confirm that Khamis has died. I cannot tell you whether he was one of the teachers infected with the virus,” said Musuve.

Reports from the hospital indicate that Khamis was admitted at the ICU after he developed breathing complications immediately after he was rushed to the hospital on October 15.

Last week, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said 11 teachers from Tononoka Secondary School and four at Star of the Sea Girls High School had tested positive for Covid-19.

The two schools, located within the Mombasa Central Business District, remained closed.

Unconfirmed reports said that a teacher at the third school in Mombasa has been taken ill with Covid-19-related symptoms and is currently in the ICU at the Coast Provincial General Hospital.

Standard Digital has established that some students in the two schools have also contracted the virus.

“I can confirm that at Star of the Sea Girls High School, four teachers turned positive. More samples from staff members had been taken and results are yet to come out,” Kitiyo said last week.

He added: “At Tononoka Secondary School, the number was a bit high, with 11 cases confirmed,” he said, adding that the two institutions had been closed for two weeks.

Parents expressed anger over the turn of events and asked the government to carry out mandatory testing for all the students and teachers before they re-open the schools.

Khamis was scheduled to be buried at Kikowani cemetery this evening.

During the Mashujaa Day celebrations, Governor Hassan Ali Joho lamented over rising infections in Mombasa amid fear that the county was experiencing a second wave of the virus.

“We are seeing a spiral effect in new infections, resulting in all emergency beds being taken up by people who have turned positive,” Kitiyo said.


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County traffic officer smashes car after seizing it



A city inspectorate officer in Nairobi has found herself in trouble after causing an accident along Kimathi Street that saw two cars, a motorcycle and three public benches destroyed early on Monday.

It started on Monday with a brief scuffle between the officer and a parking boy who was looking for parking space for a Nissan Note vehicle (reg number, KCA 897U).

The officer then bundled the young man out of the car and stepped on the accelerator. Little did she know that the vehicle was on reverse gear.

Hezekiah Virero, a boda boda rider whose motorcycle was on the path of the reversing vehicle, narrowly escaped death.

He barely managed to jump off his motorcycle which was run over by the reversing car.

Members of the public stare at a car which was involved in an accident along Kimathi Street in Nairobi on October 26, 2020. Eye witnesses said the car, which was being driven by a county traffic officer, hit another car and a motorcycle before hitting a tree.

Salaton Njau | Nation Media Group

An oncoming vehicle, a Mitsubuishi Colt (reg number KCZ 633W) was also hit. The car swerved dangerously as the driver, who only identified himself as Ken, struggled to control it.

The Colt lost its left side mirror while its left front window was reduced to tiny shards on the wet tarmac. The vehicle’s left front door was also dented with the entire left side of the body badly scratched.

As the vehicle kept speeding in reverse, riders and members of the public who were relaxing on public benches next to Total petrol station along Kimathi Street scampered out of the way.

The vehicle ended up smashing the public seats into a tree.

The impact flattened the front tire of the car with the bumpers, right side mirror and the rear windscreen were also extensively damaged.

Angry crowd

Miraculously, no one was hurt in the accident.

Bystanders and other road users stared in amazement as the dazed inspectorate officer rushed out of the vehicle.

Angry motorcycle riders charged at her. Sensing danger, the officer’s colleagues jumped into a breakdown towing vehicle and made a quick escape.

Left alone, the hapless officer found herself surrounded by the irate crowd. She was only rescued by security and police officers manning nearby buildings. She was quickly whisked into a nearby bank.

A breakdown tow away a car which was involved in an accident along Kimathi Street in Nairobi on October 26, 2020. Eye witnesses said the car, which was being driven by a county traffic officer, hit another car and a motorcycle before hitting a tree.

Salaton Njau | Nation Media Group

“The City Council have to take my damaged motorcycle and buy me a new one. This lady hit me and I fell on the road. The next thing I saw as I stood up is her hitting another vehicle before crashing into a tree and sending another parked motorcycle on the ground,” Mr Virero said.

For him, the accident has not only affected his vehicle but also his livelihood.

“I will sue for damages. I’m an Uber driver and my livelihood has been affected,” he said.

Police manning the bank where the city officer was taken for cover assured members of the public that they would hold her until traffic police officers arrive.

City Hall, however, declined to comment on the matter with the Director of Security Compliance, Joseph Kipsang, saying he was yet to get a report on the same.


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