Natembeya, Wetangula Trade Accusations After Chaos At Funeral

Leaders among, them National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula and Natembeya, were attending the burial of former Nominated MCA Philip Nyongesa in Goseta.

Natembeya, Wetangula Trade Accusations After Chaos At Funeral
Collage of National Assembly Speaker, Moses Wetangula and Trans Nzoia Governor, George Natembeya. /VIRAL TEA KE

Trans Nzoia County Governor George Natembeya has voiced his discontent over the chaotic scenes witnessed on Friday, March 22 which brought events surrounding the funeral of one of his employees in Goseta, Trans Nzoia County to a standstill.

Leaders among, them National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula and Natembeya, were attending the burial of former Nominated MCA Philip Nyongesa in Goseta.

Supporters of the two would later disrupt the ceremony, scattering chairs all over the venue and engaging in running battles with police who were forced to lob teargas to quell the chaos.

Natembeya, who spoke later in his office, claimed the clash was motivated by his resolve to steer Western Kenya to national leadership.

President William Ruto (right) and Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya take a stroll at State House Gardens on March 15, 2023. /STATE HOUSE KENYA

In his view, the chaos ensued after several buses arrived at the burial site, transporting unidentified individuals from Bungoma, adding that Wetangula failed to notify the governor of his intention to attend the burial.

“The speaker should have paid us a courtesy call and told us he was coming. That is protocol. I got to the venue of the burial and tried to come the youth down and all of a sudden tear gas was sent our way,” Natembeya explained.

The county boss also claimed that he received a call a day earlier warning him against attending the burial ceremony as someone had hired buses to transport people to Bungoma for the burial.

The governor further added that upon arrival at the burial site, he found all police officers surrounding Wetangula, a matter which triggered the youths on the ground.

Natembeya further claimed that he was roughed up during the chaotic scenes and that his life was unnecessarily put at risk.

"It is not right to bring chaos to a funeral. My trousers were torn. How do you risk the life of a leader yet you pretend to be a leader? We live in peace in Trans Nzoia and we would not allow outsiders to disrupt.

"We will not allow the politics by Ford Kenya where people carry crude weapons even when going to funerals," said Natembeya.

Natembeya has requested investigations to establish the person behind the instructions to lobby teargas at him and the youths on the ground, terming it as illegal and adding that there were old people and women present at the burial.

Wetangula, on his part, blamed Natembeya for orchestrating the clash but urged authorities to get to the bottom of the matter.

He also warned leaders against manipulating their followers into instigating violence of any nature, in particular, young people.

"The disruption of the burial I attended in Kwanza Constituency, Trans-Nzoia County, by a wave of political intolerance and chaos, is deeply regrettable. We implore the authorities to address this situation with the full force of the law," he said.

"Regardless of their status, no leader should be permitted to exploit impunity and violence to sow discord and turmoil merely to gain political advantage. I urge the youth to refrain from being manipulated into instigating disorder by the political class."

The funeral which was attended by Speaker Wetang’ula and Governor Natembeya on Friday was disrupted with mourners fleeing in fear of their lives and to avoid incurring unnecessary injuries.

Screengrab images of Natembeya, Wetang'ula supporters clashing in Trans Nzoia on March 22, 2024. /CALEB AMISI