Mourners thronged Umash Funeral Home in Nakuru as early as 8am yesterday to give their last respects to Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei.
Sergeant Kenei, a police officer attached to the Deputy President’s office, was found dead in his Nairobi house late last month in what the DCI has termed as a well-planned assassination.
His killing has been linked to the investigation into the Sh39 billion military arms scandal that led to the arrest and arraignment of former Sports CS Rashid Echesa.
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Family, friends and relatives described the late officer as a gallant mediator who could not, even in extreme circumstances, take his own life.
The message too, resounded loudly. Many a speaker called for thorough investigations into the killing of a man whom they say was a visionary leader, mediator and a rising star.
And even as the hearse left the funeral home for his home at Chamasis village in Rongai, Nakuru County, locals lined up the roadside to witness a story that has since dominated the news.
“He was a diligent man who loved consultations and could not take his own life no matter what. We only pray that his innocent blood haunts his killers,” Mr Chesang said.
To his family, memories of Kenei are fresh and emotions raw from unexpected turn of events that nibbed a son from their midst after only 13 years in the police service.
“We a have enemies and we do not know their motives. May sarcastic tears turn out to be true tears. There are many who do not come to mourn and our tears will not go in vain. We pray for hate, shame to follow my son’s killers,” Chesang said.
The sombre mood at the funeral spelt of the unexpected death which relatives said was a huge blow, unexpected of a passionate mediator, son, father and husband.
And even as the choir set the tempo with the hymn, Mwendo nimeumaliza, Imani nimeilinda, emotions still ran high among the many who knew him as a trailblazer.
“The time we had together was too short, never enough. I am not as strong as I thought I was. Since you were gone, I still sit and cry all night from dusk to dawn,” Kenei’s wife Judy Chepsoi said amidst sobs.
She too, could not control the raw emotions. She broke down several times, while reading the eulogy of a man with whom she had only spent a year and a few months. The man who was to officially wed her but fate could not allow. The man who left behind a three weeks old daughter and a son.
To his son, he was all a perfect father could be -- a gentleman and a best friend.
“You were a perfect gentleman to everyone you came across,” Kenei’s son Kiptoo Yegon said.
But it is his affinity to making friends that seemed to have swarmed more mourners, giving a meaning to ‘high school never ends’.
“He demonstrated leadership and went ahead to be our chairman, bringing us together in social media platforms. It is sad to see him leave sooner. His efforts and passion for the welfare of people played a key role in bringing us together. Truly, high school never ends,” Eliud Bichii, a friend, said.
The chairman, to school mates, was a gallant, promising young man who formed a WhatsApp Group to bring on board all his school mates.
Henry Koech, another friend, called on authorities to work on dismantling what they termed as bottlenecks hindering investigations.
“It was untimely demise. The people of Solai have lost a great mobiliser who was working to get this area electricity. Authorities should work towards getting the killers and their motives,” he said.
Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, a cousin to Kenei, said professionalism and likeable demeanor propelled him in his career.
“He was a rising star who engaged people and managed his work diligently,” Chelugui said.
Deputy Inspector General of Police John Murage said Kenei was a team player with a great personality who served the service and the nation for 13 years.