A shocking incident unfolded during a requiem mass for Melicalistus Okumu, popularly known as Brayo, as a group of youths stormed the funeral service and abruptly took control of the proceedings.
The funeral was held at Emasera village in Lurambi constituency, Kakamega County, and marked a disturbing departure from the traditional mourning process.
The pastor, who was in the midst of delivering his sermon, found himself interrupted by the group of rowdy youths. They forcibly took the body of the deceased away for burial, causing chaos and confusion among the mourners present. The dramatic incident exposed a clash between the Anglican church, the family, and the disruptive youths.
The disruptive group, who were friends of the deceased and had traveled from Nairobi to attend the funeral, engaged in unorthodox behavior that left mourners astonished. In an unconventional display of mourning, they consumed alcohol, smoked bhang (cannabis), and even went as far as sprinkling some of these substances into the grave as the body was being laid to rest.
The rowdy youths defended their actions, claiming that this unconventional ritual was their way of commemorating their friend. After the burial, the group returned to Nairobi without participating in any customary mourning rituals or sharing a meal with the bereaved family. Their actions were restricted to engaging in revelry that involved alcohol, bhang consumption, and dancing.
This incident, while shocking, is not isolated in the Western region, where clashes have arisen between groups disputing the rights to bury their loved ones. Such clashes often reflect a struggle between differing cultural beliefs and modern practices, resulting in tense situations during funerals.
Elders from the community expressed their astonishment at the incident. Mariam Rashid, a church elder, condemned the disruptive behavior as disrespectful to the deceased, the bereaved family, the church, and the mourners.
She characterized the incident as an embarrassing departure from cultural norms and an act that risks bringing curses upon those involved.
This disturbing incident follows a similar disruption during a funeral in Budokoni village, Matayos constituency, Busia County. A peaceful burial for Oliver Omondi, also known as Boyi, was marred by a clash between boda boda riders, friends, and mourners, who protested the pastor’s decision to curtail their mourning rituals.
The youths demanded the inclusion of reggae and Benga music in the ceremony, resulting in a confrontation with the preacher and the abrupt takeover of the service.
In a bizarre turn of events, the disruptive youths even appointed one of their own to officiate at the burial ceremony, demonstrating a departure from traditional roles and norms associated with funerals.