Thousands of weeping Luo tribesmen yesterday (Sunday) surrounded a house in an outer Nairobi suburb where the body of Tom Mboya, a leading Kenyan politician who was assassinated on Saturday (5 July), lay in state.
MOURNERS AT MBOYA'S HOUSE; CAR CARRYING COFFIN PAST; MOURNERS AROUND CAR; MBOYA'S WIFE AND YOUNGER BROTHER AMONG MOURNERS; MOURNERS CARRYING BED; WOMAN WEEPING; MBOYA LYING IN STATE; MOURNERS FILE PAST; CROWD BEAT KIKUYU BOY AND EJECT HIM FROM GROUNDS; KIKUYU MINISTER ARRIVES BY CAR; LUO LEADER CALLS FOR NON-VIOLENCE; TRIBAL DANCER. (NATSOF)
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Background: Thousands of weeping Luo tribesmen yesterday (Sunday) surrounded a house in an outer Nairobi suburb where the body of Tom Mboya, a leading Kenyan politician who was assassinated on Saturday (5 July), lay in state. The mourners, from Mr. Mboya's Luo tribe, filed past the casket in which the body of the late Minister of Economic Planning and Development was placed. Tension was present among the Luo mourners following earlier clashes between Luo tribesmen and the dominant Kikuyu tribe.
The funeral car, bearing the body, arrived at Mr. Mboya's home, past crowds of grief-stricken mourners, some of whom carried life-sized portraits of the assassinated minister. Among the estimated 2,000 people gathered about Mr. Mboya's home were his widow, Mrs. Pamela Mboya, and the dead man's younger brother.
Mr. Mboya's casket was placed on a bed and then mourners filed slowly past to pay their last respects.
Although the mourners were quiet and subdued, violence broke out when a young Kikuyu boy tried to enter the grounds of Mr. Mboya's house. The Luos quickly began to beat the boy and then ejected him from the grounds. On Saturday night, there were disturbances in Nairobi and other Kenyan towns as Luos and Kikuyu tribesmen clashed. The Kikuyu, whose stronghold is Nairobi, form a majority in the government of Kenyan Jomo Kenyatta.
One of those who came to pay their respects was the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Nyaga, who is a member of the Kikuyu tribe. Although the crowd of mourners quickly surrounded his car, the minister was allowed to enter unhindered.
A leader of the Luo tribe addressed the mourners, urging them not to engage in violence.
Observers in Nairobi said that although the Government had so far managed to contain tribal hostilities and there had been no widespread rioting, the danger of tribal warfare still existed.