Drunk youth hijack funeral, play reggae songs


The pastor was midway through his sermon during a requiem mass for Melicalistus Okumu, popularly known as Brayo when a group of youths stormed the funeral service and took away the body for burial.

Mourners were treated to a drama as the group hijacked the funeral programme from the Anglican church and the family. The incident occurred at Emasera village, Lurambi constituency, Kakamega County.

As they buried one of their own the youths smoked bhang, drank alcohol and even sprinkled some inside the grave, leaving mourners perplexed.

The rowdy youths, who were friends of the deceased, had travelled all the way from Nairobi to show solidarity.

They claimed the ritual was their way of mourning. After the burial, the group left for Nairobi without eating anything at their friend’s home. They only took alcohol, smoked bhang and danced.

The incident is just one among many in the Western region where two groups or more have clashed over who should bury their loved ones.

The incident left elders surprised. Mariam Rashid, a church elder, said such a burial is an embarrassment and shows lack of respect for the dead, bereaved family, church and mourners.

“It was so shocking to see youths grabbing the body and taking over the burial service before starting to drink and smoke while pouring alcohol on the deceased. Those doing such things risk being cursed,” said Rashid.

According to the elder, they have never experienced such an ugly burial where young men and women have no respect for culture.

Not long ago in Budokoni village Matayos constituency Busia County, what was initially considered a peaceful burial for Oliver Omondi alias Boyi, a boda boda operator, turned into a fistfight after boda boda riders, friends, and some mourners protested after the pastor denied them more time to mourn through dance and songs.

The angry youths demanded the pastor allow the DJ to play reggae and Benga music to allow them to dance and sing before their colleagues could be laid to rest, a demand that the preacher denied leading to a fracas.

Drunk youth disrupting funerals

The youth took over the service programme and ordered the DJ to stop playing gospel songs and play reggae lyrics instead. The youth grabbed the casket, lifting it high as they went around the grave and Omondi’s house.  Omondi died in a road accident. There was more drama when the youth appointed one of them to take up the role of pastor and officiate at the burial ceremony.

Kakamega County Inter-faith Religious Council chairperson Bishop Nicholas Olumasai condemned this emerging trend of drunk youth disrupting funerals.

“Pastors are the ones to bury the dead and bless the entire process,” said Olumasai.

“If we curse them their lives will change for the worse. Going forward, such people need to be arrested,” he added.

Patrick Dhahabu, an elder, said hooliganism in funerals is a recipe for a catastrophe.

“The dead deserve respect and when we fail to follow certain procedures then those responsible are bound to be haunted by the spirit of the dead,” said Dhahabu.


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