The Star (Nairobi)

26 May 2011

Kenya: Residents to Demonstrate Over Wanjiru Burial Delay

Residents of Nyahururu will today join relatives and friends of the late Olympic Marathon Champion Samuel Wanjiru in a peaceful protest to express their anger over intruders, whom they claim are sabotaging the burial of the fallen hero.

In a meeting held at Olympia hotel in Nyahururu yesterday, the residents said Wanjiru's mother Anne Wanjiru is not solely to blame for the burial arrangement crisis, but has been held hostage by businessmen and lawyers who want a protracted legal battle in order to benefit from Wanjiru's property.

Wanjiru's lawyer Ndegwa Wahome, who was the chairman of the burial committee before it was stopped by a court injunction, said Kamau's body has not been embalmed at Lee Funeral home in Nairobi as the mortuary staff could not tamper with it before a postmortem is carried out. "We have been receiving calls from the mortuary saying that the body is rotting hence a postmortem needs to be done as a matter of urgency. This is the lowest state to which human dignity can be abused," he said.

Mourners are now demanding the arrest, interrogation and prosecution of the businessmen saying it is evil to ruin a warm send off for the international hero in their own selfish interests.

The lawyer said the businessmen transfered of the body from Nyahururu District Hospital mortuary to Lee Funeral Home at their own cost. Wanjiru's wife Trizah Njeri had initially resisted the transfer saying there were vital documents she wanted to be produced by her mother-in-law before the body could be moved.

"The same clique of people are also responsible for filing the court case since even the mother can not tell you vividly about the conditions she is claimed to have demanded before the burial could be held," Wahome said, adding that he told Kamau's mother she is currently the most hated person in Nyahururu.

The meeting resolved that an interdenominational service will be held on Saturday at Nyahururu stadium to celebrate Wanjiru's life. "Wanjiru was given to the world by God as a gift and especially to Kenya whose flag he caused to fly high in many nations across the world. In spite of the court order, we shall continue to meet every evening, mourn, receive contributions and keep the fire burning," he said.

Ndegwa hoped the court injunction barring the burial would be withdrawn by June 2 since all the conditions given by Wanjiru's mother through her lawyers have been met.

Anne Wanjiru wanted an investigation to be carried out by police to establish the cause of death, a postmortem to be done, and to be included as part of the burial arrangements. "We also want the same thing to happen hence there is actually no dispute between us," he said.

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