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We’re sorry for interring your son at 2am, police tell Jachiga's family

By Kevine Omollo | June 20th 2020

Police officers and close relatives of the late Ohangla musician Abenny Jachiga at his gravesite for prayers on June 19, 2020. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

After the recent controversial burial of Ohangla musician Abenny Jachiga which saw riot police storm Chiga village in Kisumu County forcing mourners to flee into the bushes, the cops on Friday visited the home to apoligise to the family.

Led by Kisumu Central OCPD Peter Kattam and his Kisumu East counterpart Musyimi Mwendwa, the officers armed with humility, bags of food and apologies, visited the family of the late Bernard Onyango to seek forgiveness over the musician’s controversial burial. 

“There are things which took place during the burial, and if there are some which we did not handle well, please forgive us,” said Musyimi.

He said the work of the police is challenging, and once in a while they may step on people’s toes.

“It is not our wish to overstep our mandate when doing our work, or to make people feel bad,” said Musyimi.

The officers donated food to Jachiga’s family, saying the consignment of maize flour, sugar, cooking oil, rice and other sanitation products were donated by officers through the Regional and County Police Commander.

“We know Jachiga was a breadwinner in the family, and our coming to mourn with them and show solidarity is a way of appreciating the situation that he has left his family in,” said Kattam.

Kattam asked the residents to desist from troubling the family, and allow the musician to rest in peace.

County officials’ visit

While speaking to Standard Digital. Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o praised the officers for visiting the family, saying county officials will follow suit.

“What the police have done is a good gesture. As a county government we will also visit the family in the coming days,” said Nyong'o.

Police officers and close relatives of the late Ohangla musician Abenny Jachiga at his home in Chiga village, Kisumu East when the officers sent a delegation to condole with the family. They delivered assorted foodstuff, masks and sanitisers to the family. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The governor said it was important for the police to explain to Jachiga's family that the unfortunate events that led to the night burial may have been driven by a communication breakdown between his fans and security official, at a time when the government was trying to enforce Covid-19 guidelines.

"It’s always good to say sorry when things don’t happen the right way.”

Threats to exhume the body

Jachiga’s family claimed that people continue to threaten them and the local police for allowing the musician’s indecent burial, with some vowing to exhume the body.

“Even today, we are not safe and we ask the police to protect us, and let them know that the talks of exhumation do not originate from this family, but outsiders,” said Monica Auma, Jachiga’s mother.

She said as a family, they are seeking help to complete the construction of a house Jachiga’s left unfinished and also to educate his three children.

Dawn burial

Jachiga was buried at 2am on June 13 under tight security in the absence of his family members.

The night burial followed a day-long confrontation between the police and the musician’s friends and relatives over the burial arrangements.

Jachiga died on June 11, at a local private hospital after a short illness.

Following the new rules by Nyongó to discourage gatherings and interaction in the fight against the spread of coronavirus, the musician’s family was instructed to inter the body within 24 hours.

Police officers and close relatives of the late Ohangla musician Abenny Jachiga in a meeting at his home in Chiga village in Kisumu East on June 19, 2020. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The burial, however, aborted after chaos. Friends and family demanded that Jachiga’s body stays overnight before the burial, contrary to directives from the police.

A fight between the police and hundreds of villagers ensued before the villagers overpowered police who abandoned the body and fled.

The villagers then took the body back to the mortuary, covered the grave with soil and tree trunks, vowing to plan for the burial the following day.

Police, however, went to the mortuary at the wee hours of the morning, took the body and buriied the musician in the absence of his wife, children and mother.

Only Austin Omondi, the deceased brother, who claimed he was forced to help the officers identify his brother’s body, witnessed the dawn burial.

But even after the burial, tension has remained high in the village, with the villagers threatening to exhume the body to accord the musician a decent burial.

Luo traditions

According to Luo traditions, close family members of the deceased, for example, the spouse, children and parents are expected to drop soil into the grave during burial to signify closure.

They are also expected to ascertain that the body being buried is their kin.

But this did not take place as the musician’s wife Belinda Aluoch and her three children did not witness the burial of their loved one.

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