Gor Mahia fans walk away with the casket bearing the remains of Boniface Aggrey Okello, a radio presenter and TV comedian, in Masogo, Kisumu County on November 7, 2015. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Gor Mahia fans on Saturday stormed the funeral of Citizen Television actor Boniface Aggrey Okello and seized the coffin as mourners scampered for safety.
The rowdy fans said the ceremony came ahead of the big clash between Gor Mahia and Sony Sugar at Kisumu’s Moi Stadium and he should be allowed to “watch it before he is buried”.
Gor and Sony face off Saturday afternoon in the Kenyan Premier League Top 8 final in Kisumu.
The scuffle started after K’Ogalo fans got agitated by the clergy who they accused of hijacking the ceremony without their involvement.
Mr Okello, who acts as "Bokelo" in Inspecta Mwala show and a comedian with a popular vernacular radio station, was a card-carrying K’Ogalo fan.
NYONG'O WHISKED AWAY
Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyongo had to be whisked away after the rowdy youths destroyed the podium during the funeral held in Kano in Kisumu County.
MPs Fred Outa (Nyando) and Silvance Osele (Kabondo Kasipul) were also denied the chance to address mourners after the fans disconnected the public address system.
The clergy were forced to scamper for safety at Mr Okello’s home which, a stone throw from the school venue. The fans insisted that they will take the remains to the stadium for the match before returning it for burial.
Chanting “Jowi! Jowi! Jowi!” (loosely translated to mean bull), the group carried the coffin shoulder high and marched with it around the school compound with pleas for calm by family and friends of Mr Okello falling on deaf ears.
“Sisi kama watu wa K’Ogalo tumehuzunishwa sana na jinsi wanasiasa wanataka kuchukua hii matanga. (As Gor Mahia fans, we we are saddened by the way politicians want to take over this burial ceremony),” said a fan identified as Peter Onyango.
At some point, the group began conducting ceremonies accustomed to mourning Luo heroes by beating drums and horns. They later lit small fires.
Renowned K’Ogalo fan, Jared Obonyo alias Jaro Soja, was not spared either with his efforts to calm the crowd leading to more confrontation.
“As K’Ogalo fans, we will not tolerate any interference from politicians,” said a fan who identified himself as Otieno Oloka.
The Kisumu-born comedian died last month after a short illness. He is credited as one of the pioneer actors behind the success of Citizen TV's Inspekta Mwala alongside "Abdi" and "Muliro" where he used to play the role of a police officer. He was also known as "Woun Ombugu" in his radio show.
The Gor Mahia fans were later persuaded and buried Mr Okello at his home shortly before 3pm before proceeding to watch their match in Kisumu.