Kenya: Low-Key Burial for Archbishop Ndingi Mwana A'nzeki

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday told the country that once the Covid-19 pandemic is defeated, he will lead the nation in celebrating the life of retired Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki.

Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki, 89, died in Nairobi on March 31 after a long illness.

He was interred in a crypt at the Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family on Tuesday, after a low-key funeral service at the Holy Family Basilica.

CELEBRATION

The President was to attend the funeral service but could not make it due to measures taken to control the spread of the virus.

Mr Kenyatta's condolence message was conveyed by Mr Kennedy Kihara, the Principal Administrative Secretary at the Executive Office of the President.

"We had made arrangements for the President to speak to us via video link but technology failed us in the last minute," Mr Kihara explained.

"That is why he asked that I represent him. His Excellency wants to inform the church and the country that when we are through with these difficulties, he will set aside a day when the life of the late archbishop will be celebrated."

UHURU'S CALL

President Kenyatta described Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki as a great leader whose absence will be felt across the world.

He asked Kenyans to emulate the archbishop's good character and practice what he preached.

Mr Kenyatta said Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki demonstrated that in a world of difficulty and challenges, good people can rise to serve God and his creation.

EULOGY

Reading the eulogy, Rev. Fr. (Prof) Lawrence Njoroge, the chaplain and a lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), described the archbishop as a person who always sought to defend the needy and the oppressed.

Rev. Njoroge recalled a situation in 1999 when many parts of the country were struck by a serious drought.

He said that Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki and the Nation Media Group, through board chairman Wilfred Kiboro, championed the supply of relief to hungry citizens and sought to find a permanent solution to the problem.

"He fought for truth and justice and it is precisely for this reason that in 1996, St John Fisher College; his alma mater, awarded him a Doctorate of Law (Honoris Causa)," he said.

"He was also honoured with the State Commendation, Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS), by the Republic of Kenya in recognition of his enormous contribution to national service."

GUESTS

Due to the requirement of social distancing, only a handful of people including leaders, relatives and members of the clergy attended Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki's funeral service.

They included Chief Justice David Maraga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula and Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa.

Others were Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

Nairobi Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Njue, who led the service, said there would have been more people had it not been for the difficult circumstances presented by the coronavirus.

He reminded the faithful to greet each other with just a bow, observe social distancing and clean their hands as they partook of the Holy Communion.

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