A fierce Opposition critic has weighed in on a death advert published in the Daily Nation on Wednesday bearing uncanny resemblance to NASA supporter Jimi Wanjigi.
Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi said on Thursday that Wanjigi should go ahead and sue the media house accusing it of failing to exercise ‘duty of care’.
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Mr Ngunyi also asked Wanjigi’s enemies to take away the war against the businessman from his wife and children.
“On the Jimi Wanjigi OBITUARY the DAILY NATION has no EXCUSE. He should SUE them for FAILING to exercise "Duty of Care". And to Wanjigi's ENEMIES, ". KEEP his WOMAN, and CHILDREN out of our WARS as MEN". I defend him as my 'Rika" (age-mate),” the Government leaning analyst said.
Kenyans woke up on Wednesday (February 7, 2018) to the death announcement in the Daily Nation on page 49 of its obituary section.
The death and funeral announcement was one of James Richard Wanjagi.
It was, however, not lost to observation that Richard Wanjagi’s picture was a slightly tweaked one of Jimi Wanjigi, the NASA backer.
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A closer look at the advert exposed it as a below-the-belt prank. The name James Richard Wanjagi was a slight variation of Jimi Richard Wanjigi. The advertiser said Wanjagi died in a failed robbery attempt at his Karen home. In November 2013, there was such an attempt at the home of James Maina Wanjigi’s Karen home. Nobody died. James Maina Wanjigi is Jimi Wanjigi’s father.
Wanjagi’s wife was named as Irene. Irene is also Jimi Wanjigi’s wife and their children school at Le Rosey, Switzerland, which was also mentioned in the curious advert.
The advert talked of the employees of Kwacha Industries being given special thanks. The Wanjigi flagship family concern is called Kwacha Group of Companies.
Bizarrely, the burial was to happen on February 6, 2018 but the advert ran on February 7, 2018.
“Family and friends are meeting daily for prayers and burial arrangements at his wife’s Muthaiga home, Nairobi, from 5 pm.The cortege leaves Lee Funeral Home (Nairobi) on Tuesday 6th February, 2018 at 7am. Funeral Service will take place on the same day at All Saints Cathedral at 10 am and burial at Langata Cemetery at 3pm.,” read the obit.
All Saints Provost the Very Rev. Canon Peter Karanja, expressed shock at the advert.
“I was here the whole day yesterday; we didn’t have a funeral service. This cannot be true. All Saints Cathedral has not held any requiem mass for James Richard Wanjagi,” he told Standard Digital.
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Of the Wanjigis, the Very Rev. Canon Peter Karanja said: “It’s a family I know very well.”
He added: “It’s unfortunate that a Kenyan can do this to someone. My sympathies go to the family.”
He called on newspapers to ensure that death announcements are only placed by family members.
In view of the advert, the Nation Media Group issued a statement.
It read: “We refer to the publication of a death announcement of James Richard Wanjagi bearing the picture of Mr Jimi Wanjigi that was erroneously published in the Daily Nation of February 7, 2018.
We regret the pain and anguish this may have caused Mr Wanjigi and his family and sincerely apologise for this.
Nation Media Group does not condone such publication, which clearly goes against our editorial policy. We have taken immediate action against those responsible for the placement of the announcement, including reporting the matter to the police for further investigations”.
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Flanked by a host of National Super Alliance (NASA) MPs and officials on Thursday, Wanjigi transitioned from laughter to anger as he dissected into the incident that he described as a ‘death promise.’
“I don’t think it’s just an advert. I think we must put it into context. First and foremost I am live,” said Wanjigi.
His family members, he said, had borne the brunt of the erroneous advertisement.
“It didn’t hurt me as much as it hurt my family members. I have children who study abroad,” said adding that relatives were calling to know if indeed he was subject in the publication.’
While talking about his quest for explanation behind the erroneous advert, he maintained that he was not worried about his safety, adding that God was his only protector. He further accused the Government for tolerating police brutality which, he said had claimed more than 300 lives.