Kenyans have woken up to a most intriguing death announcement in the Daily Nation. On page 49 of its obituary section is a death and funeral announcement of one James Richard Wanjagi.
It is, however, not lost to observation that Richard Wanjagi’s picture is a slightly tweaked one of Jimi Wanjigi, the NASA backer whose passport the State withdrew yesterday.
A closer look at the advert exposes it as a below-the-belt prank. The name James Richard Wanjagi is a slight variation of Jimi Richard Wanjigi. The advertiser says 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 is named as Irene. Irene is also Jimi Wanjigi’s wife and their children school at Le Rosey, Switzerland, which is also mentioned in the curious advert.
The advert talks 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 today 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.,” reads the obit.
It is instructive Jimi Wanjigi lives in Muthaiga and readers will recall last year’s dramatic
Police siege of his house where they announced the recovery of weapons.
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.
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.
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It reads: “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”.
Jimi Wanjigi is the Jubilee backer turned into Nasa heavyweight rubbing the ruling party the wrong way. When police raided and besieged his Muthaiga home in October 2017, Nasa chief Raila Odinga spent a night there in his support. Jimi would later tell of how he supported President Uhuru Kenyatta's party The National Alliance party, TNA, and his Deputy William Ruto's URP in the 2013 elections and of meetings that were held in his house. TNA and URP would later morph into Jubilee.
In the 2017 polls, he switched camps and supported Nasa predictably upsetting his former Jubilee allies.
After the Muthaiga raid that saw police tearing down doors of the ritzy house, the businessman obtained an anticipatory bail that prevented the police from arresting him.Little has been heard of the matter since then.