Relatives and villagers were shocked after they were blocked out of the funeral of billionaire Wilfred Murungi who was yesterday buried in a strictly private ceremony attended by only a handful of very close family.
The demised business mogul was the founder and chairman of Mastermind Tobacco Kenya Limited and his funeral was by invitation only. So guarded was the ceremony that some relatives who were not in the invitation list were turned away.
Due to his immense wealth, many had expected a colorful send-off for a man who played in the league of British tobacco companies and almost conquered them. But they were disappointed.
One of his nephews who drove his mother to the burial was turned away at the gate with only the elderly woman being allowed in.
According to a relative who declined to be named, only 20 people were expected at the brief ceremony and that was the exact number of chairs that were arranged at the tent where the ceremony took place.
Police officers who had been deployed to provide security in the compound and enforce the privacy orders outnumbered the mourners. Apart from the choppers that flew in his body and ferried close family members and the hearse, nothing would have betrayed the ceremony to be that of a billionaire who earned his place at the high table of power and wealth in the 1990s.
His insistence on a strictly private burial left many tongues wagging. An obituary in the dailies indicated that a memorial service would be held at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi tomorrow- two days after his private burial at his Magutuni home, and next to his wife who died in 2010.
A second one carrying his four children- Audrey, Angela, Alan and Eric, following closely.In 2010, his wife’s body was also flown in to the same school for a burial that was supposed to be attended by 40 people only.
Murungi did not attend his wife’s burial, with some relatives claiming it was out of respect for her wishes. Instead, he escorted the body from Nairobi, handed it over to the children and left.Yesterday, residents expressed their disappointment at being locked out of the burial.Even the few men hired earlier to dig his grave were turned away at the gate during his burial.Journalists were not even allowed anywhere near the gate.
There were no photographers, no printed eulogies, not even meals during the event that took one hour before his family quickly boarded the two choppers and left.They left behind a host of disappointed people, including businessmen from Magutuni town, who had expected to make a kill from mourners.
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