Tom Mboya, Kenya's assassinated Minister for Economic Planning, was buried on Friday (11 July) at his father's farm on the tiny Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya.
RUSINGA ISLAND; BURIAL GROUND; LUO TRIBESMEN; ODINGA OGINGA ARRIVES; BISHOP OF HOMA BAY ARRIVES; MRS. MBOYA ARRIVES; BISHOP READING SERVICE; MBOYA'S CHILDREN; COFFIN INTO GRAVE; MAN THROWS EARTH ONTO COFFIN.
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Background: Tom Mboya, Kenya's assassinated Minister for Economic Planning, was buried on Friday (11 July) at his father's farm on the tiny Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya.
The funeral proved a rallying point for the discontent of the Luo tribe, the minority tribe in Kenya, of whom Mr. Mboya was a member.
At first it appeared that the ceremony would be quiet. Though huge groups of Luo had met the funeral cortege at every point of its route from Nairobi, chanting the slogans of the Kenya People's Union (KPU), the minority opposition party, only about 3,000 people walked the six miles from Mbita ferry crossing to the burial ground.
In response to requests from local Luo leaders, all police and members of the para-military General Services Unit had been removed from the island. Police feared that if trouble and shooting broke out, they would be blamed.
Trouble began when Odinga Oginga, himself a Luo, and leader of the KPU, arrived, clad in full Luo tribal costume. In spite of his long opposition to Mr. Mboya, who belonged to the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU), Odinga received wild acclaim from the Luo who had come to honour their dead leader, and was carried shoulder high into the burial area, to a chant of "Dume, Dume" - the KPU's rallying cry, meaning Bull.
There, KPU members, busloads of whom had arrived from nearby Kisumu, forced fellow tribesmen, who were members of KANU, to shout the slogan, and raise their thumbs in the opposition salute.
The screaming, jostling entourage, some in tribal costume, and including a man on stilts, stood out in marked contrast to the restrained, European-suited family mourners and to the Bishop of Homa Bay, who had come to conduct the Christian burial service for Mr. Mboya.
The funeral itself, though quieter than the earlier proceedings, was marred by scuffles in the crowd. The Bishop himself was almost pushed into the open grave at one point in the service.
Finally, the coffin, which had been preceded through the crowds by a huge oil painting of Mr. Mboya, was lowered into the grave. Men inside the trench lowered it gently to the ground, and covered it with flowers, while mourners each cast in a handful of earth.