At around 10 am, the hearse carrying bodies of Mariam Kighenda, 35, and her daughter Amanda Mutheu, four, arrived at Kima Technical Training Institute, Kilome, Makueni County, where hundreds of mourners had gathered to offer their last respects.
Relatives and friends broke into tears as Sonko Rescue team removed the two caskets, as onlookers stood in utter disbelief.
The two died when their vehicle plunged into the ocean after slipping off MV Harambee on September 29. Their bodies were retrieved on October 10, 13 days later.
During the send-off ceremony, John Wambua, Mariam’s husband sat quietly, his palms on his cheeks and seemingly yet to come into terms with the tragic loss. He never spoke.
Speaker by speaker eulogised the deceased mother and wife as loving and caring.
“It was with great loss and sorrow when we received the hurting news. She (Amanda), was such a cheerful grandchild, always jovial. Dreams of having you grow have gone up,” said Rose Kituku, Wambua’s mother.
Former Vice President and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka said the incident was a wake-up call for the nation.
“This is criminal negligence. I want Senator Mutula Kilonzo to take up this case as a pro bono. We want to see people arrested, and taken to court tomorrow,” said Kalonzo said.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana asked for independent investigators from the family side to be enjoined in the investigations to ascertain what happened on that fateful day.
Other leaders who spoke during the ceremony urged the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) to ensure the safety of all ferry users. Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo called for critical reforms at KFS to avoid loss of more lives.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior said although President Uhuru Kenyatta had fired KFS officials, that was not enough.
“I received a message from an insider that MV Nyayo doors are not functional, and MV Harambee ramps where Mariam and Amanda died were not working; the newly acquired MV Jambo has only one door working,” Mutula claimed.
Some minutes past 3 pm, the two were laid to rest in Mung’ala village, Ngaamba.