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Villagers, squatters mourn Kalembe Ndile in final send-off

COUNTIES
By Stephen Nzioka | June 11th 2021

A mourner perched on a tree for a vantage viewing point at Kalembe Ndile's burial. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga is on Friday among dignitaries at the burial of former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile in Mbui Nzau, Kibwezi West, Makueni County.

A host of regional leaders, including Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, are in also attendance.

Ndile’s body left Lee funeral home early Friday morning and was received at his residence in Kivuthini village at 9:12am by Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba and Machakos Chief of staff Mwengi Mutuse, among others.

ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu at the burial of Kalembe Ndile. [Erastus Mutinda Mulwa, Standard]

Plans for the event were marred by confusion on Thursday after two factions pulled in different directions as to where the ceremony was to be held. On Friday, however, the event experienced calm with a contingent of police officers keeping vigil.

Mourning the 57-year-old politician, residents described Ndile as an extraordinary servant leader who uplifted the stature of his people.

Squatters from Kibwezi West, who interacted with the witty Tip leader, mourned the former MP, who himself struggled to overcome poverty, as a selfless legislator.

A section of mourners during Kalembe Ndile's burial at Mbui Nzau, Makueni County. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

Nzula Kavuli, who has been Ndile’s neighbour since 1999, said Ndile made considerable efforts to alleviate the struggles of the poor from the yoke of landlessness.

Kavuli disclosed that she resides in a piece of land courtesy of an ownership framework initiated by Ndile.

“When we were taken to this village of Kivuthini it had been occupied by wildlife, full of snakes and he fought for our land rights. I also acquired another land for my children at Mbisu Mbyu. He didn’t give promises that he was not going to fulfil,” said Kavuli.

A message echoed by Wausi Leo, 60, who lauded Ndile’s transformational infrastructure projects in Kaunguni Secondary, Kiimani Mbui Nzaui and Nguumo Girls, among other schools.

The casket bearing the remains of Former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile. [Erastus Mutinda Mulwa, Standard]

Leo noted that the politician was loved as he supported the vulnerable and never turned his back on those he served.

“This village is covered by rocks. It is hard for us to farm. Ndile used to bring us food. He would go to the central region, bring us cabbages among other foodstuffs when we were faced by hunger,” said Leo. 

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