Politicians denied podium in SDA pastor's burial

Nyamira Senator Eric Okong'o Mogeni (left) shares a word with Chief Justice David Maraga during the burial ceremony of Pastor Shem Ngoko at Miriri in Nyamira County on July 5, 2019. Ngoko was until his death the director of stewardship and church development activities at the East Kenya Union of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. [Stanley Ongwae/Standard].

Politicians from Nyamira were on Friday denied an opportunity to address mourners in the funeral of a Seventh Day Adventist pastor.

Senator Eric Okong'o, Women Rep Jerusha Momanyi, Borabu MP Ben Momanyi, former Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire had to plead with the Seventh Day Adventist Church top leadership to be allowed to just mention their names during the burial ceremony of Pastor Shem Ngoko at Miriri in Kitutu Masaba Constituency.

Chief Justice David Maraga was among mourners who were in the funeral that was also attended by Governor John Nyagarama, former West Mugirango MP Benson Kegoro, retired Justice Samuel Bosire and Bungoma High Court Judge Stephen Riechi.

The justices had earlier been accorded an opportunity to mourn the fallen clergyman.

Nyamira SDA Church Executive Secretary Dr Thomas Nyakundi had ordered the politicians to just line up before the mourners; pose for a picture and return to their seats.

According to the instructions, only Governor John Nyagarama was to speak on behalf of the political class.

But the legislators would take none of the directives and instead rose to the temporary pulpit from where church service was being conducted, and closely consulted with Dr Nyakundi to allow them to address the mourners and perhaps utter political statements.

After succeeding to relax the rope, they were allowed to only introduce themselves without uttering anything, but still they went on to make statements which were cut short by Dr Nyakundi.

Pastor Ngoko who was being mourned was until his death the director of Stewardship and Church Development Activities at the East Kenya Union of the SDA Church.

Justice Maraga described the late Ngoko who was buried on Friday at his Miriri home as a spiritual hero who had accomplished his works of servanthood of Gospel mission.

The SDA church doctrines prohibit politicians from speaking non-Christian messages in the pulpit, a virtue Dr Nyakundi was upholding by denying them chance to speak.