10 November 2012

Kenya: Fire Disrupts Slain Kwega Burial Plans

FUNERAL activities at the slain Kisumu businessman and politicians Shem Onyango Kwega was on Friday evening disrupted at the last minute after his home and village burst into flame in what villager believe was caused by an electric fault.

The fire that is reported to have started from a nearby Primary school, the planned venue for the requime mass tomorrow caught committee members by surprise and they had to scamper to safety as the fire spread towards Kwegas, home and two other adjacent homes in the village.

The fire broke out few hours after the body had just arrived home and the committee were in their final meeting ahead of the send off tomorrow.

Two of the funeral committee members ken Onyango and Israel Kodiaga who were in the meeting by the time the fire started said aloud explosion was heard from the adjacent primary school before the fire started.

They suspected it to be as a result of electric fault. "Our primary thinking is that it has been caused by the electric fault, it appears there was a fault in all the lines", said Kodiaga.

By the time of going to the press one of Kwega's house had already been burnt while two others were still on fire with his brothers home and a neighbours homes as well as the entire shopping centre on fire.

Household properties of unknown value have also been consumed by the fire as shops, homes and schools went down in flames. Thousands of mourners who had accompanied the body home tried in vain and had to drive off their vehicles to safety to avoid catching fire.

Kisumu police boss Musa Kongoli said they got the report of the explosion and had summoned the fire brigade for assistance. Locals attributed their inability to help in extinguishing the fire to huge crowd gathered at Kwega home.

"The compound is littered with people who came to bid farewell to Kwega unfortunately this has happened. Earlier in the day before arriving home, transport and business activities were paralysed in Kisumu for the better part of the day as thousands of mourners took over streets and pavement in the final send off of Kwega

A motorcade snaked its way through the city where Kwega body was displayed for public viewing even as eager supporters fought to have a glimpse of his body.

The funeral committee had to vacate the expansive sports ground to ODM offices after the former could not accommodate thousands of residents who turned up to view the body.

Some locals left the funeral surprised with the quick turn of events at the funeral with some pointing at superstitious forces behind the fire. They said that was one of the ways that Kwega was protesting his death.

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