Grief coupled with occasional humour marked an interdenominational mass for former nominated MP Mark Too at his Maziwa Farm in Kapseret constituency, Uasin Gishu County, yesterday.
Speakers who included members of the clergy, politicians and residents gave moving eulogies about a leader who contributed selflessly to development in the area as well as other parts of the country.
Thousands of mourners who walked, cycled or drove to the venue recalled Mark Too's rib-cracking jokes, occasionally sending mourners into interludes of laughter during the service held ahead of today's burial.
Mark Too's body landed at the Eldoret International Airport shortly before 10am and was received by a host of local leaders, including North Rift African Inland Church Bishop Patrice Chumba.
Bishop Chumba led a short prayer session before the procession snaked into Too's home.
The chairman of the Uasin Gishu County Pastors, Wilson Kirui, led payers at Too's home. The preachers praised the late politician as a person who supported all churches regardless of denomination.
"Mark Too touched every life, both in church and in the political arena. He had no boundaries and became a great mentor and arbitrator for peace," said Rev Isaac Mutai of Deliverance Church of Kenya, who delivered the sermon.
He urged mourners to emulate Too's example, saying he would attend a service in any church and respected everybody regardless of societal status or age, and held no grudges even against those who hurt him.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and retired President Daniel Moi are among dignitaries expected to attend the burial today.
The burial committee gave most of those who attended yesterday's service, including residents, the chance to eulogise Too as most of them might not have a chance to do so today.
Too's third child, Jeniffer Chebet, recounted how she and her siblings were raised in Nandi, where they lived a humble life.
"Irrespective of what my father achieved, he never forgot home. Our father taught us to live well with our neighbours. My father left a legacy of generosity and diplomacy that should be emulated. If we can all live the life my father lived, nobody will be poor," said Ms Chebet.
Gladys Shollei, who is a friend of the family, described Too as an excellent diplomat and a community hero.
"I am a beneficiary of Mark Too's wise advice. He had a solution for each problem and always advocated for diplomacy as the way to solve problems. He gave me advice when I was in public service and even after," said Ms Shollei.
"And even when he heard about my political ambitions, he came to my house and told me the best position for me would be Uasin Gishu Woman Representative."
Local leaders present included Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, his Nandi counterpart Cleophas Lagat, senators Stephen Sang (Nandi) and Isaac Melly (Uasin Gishu), area MP Oscar Sudi, Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Elijah Lagat (Chesumei), Elisha Busienei (Turbo), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Zipporah Kering (Nandi Woman Rep) James Bett (Kesses) and several MCAs.
However, controversy continued to mar funeral arrangements as Too's lawyer, Simon Lilan, threatened to seek fresh orders to exhume the former MP's body if the family disregarded a court order stopping the ceremony.
Mr Lilan is calling for an independent postmortem to establish the cause of death. He has claimed that the politician could have been killed from a lethal injection.
The lawyer, who spoke in Eldoret town yesterday, said: "There is an attempt to bury him through the back door by disobeying court orders."
Lilan also said the body should be buried at the home of first wife Mary, in Nandi County, according to Nandi customs. He also accused three prominent leaders of threatening him and the judge who issued orders.
"I have no intention of stopping the burial but I am in a quest for justice. I will change my earlier prayers and seek exhumation if the body is interred," he said.
He said his appointed doctors must be allowed to take samples from the body to establish the cause of death.