Low Profile Memorial Service For Late Diplomat James Kiboi In Stockholm

A low profile memorial service for the late diplomat Mr. James Kiboi took place at St Emanuel Church in Stockholm yesterday Monday 25th September from 18.00. Although a decision to hold the service was taken on Friday last week after the body was released to the family, many Kenyans learnt about the service only hours before the event.

When Kenya Stockholm Blog called the Kenyan Embassy to find out why there had been no public announcement about the event, the Ambassador, Mr. Daniel Mukiri Kinyanjui, said that things have been moving very fast and that there has been no time to inform everybody.

“What I know is that there was an announcement at St Emanuel church on Sunday that the service would take place on Monday”, Mr. Kinyanjui said. The Ambassador was on his way out of the office and sounded exhausted.

Very few Kenyans attend Sunday services at St Emanuel church and it is not strange that the message never got home. A better venue that the announcement could also have been made is St Klara Church which has a Swahili congregation from East Africa and where Pastor Beatrice Kamau, a Kenyan national, also preaches. It is the same Church where Wangari Mathai delivered her speech when she came to Sweden last year while the Juliet memorial was also held at the same Church because it is more popular with Kenyans in Stockholm.

Both Kesofo and Kenya Stockholm Blog were also kept in the dark about the memorial service. KSB has learnt that some key personalities controlling events around the family have been unhappy with KSB because the blog-spot has been “revealing too much information” on Kiboi’s death. An underground Kenyan Pastor who has been close to Kiboi’s family has been in the fore-front in spreading anti-KSB propaganda. In fact, KSB has been in the front line in questioning the dubious circumstances under which Kiboi is reported to have died.

The biggest concern is that portions of the Kenyan media have been lifting stories from KSB then publishing them in Kenya. Immediately after Kiboi’s death, the family took contact with KSB through Kiboi’s Aunt to complain about portions of a story that said that Kiboi was seen on a table with three women at Masawa Bar in Oslo the night he died. Another contact in Finland married to the sister of Kiboi’s wife also expressed similar concerns.

Through a family representative and Kiboi’s Aunt, KSB has constantly updated the family about published and unpublished detail on Kiboi’s death. The main struggle has been between the right of Kenyans in Stockholm to know what may have happened to Mr. Kiboi and the right of the family to privacy especially on sensitive issues that touches on Kiboi’s credibility.

Many Kenyans who interacted with Mr. Kiboi failed to attend the Friday memorial service because they did not know about it. Mr. Moses Trubadur, a Kenyan musician based in Stockholm, said that it was unfortunate that the Embassy had failed to inform Kenyans about the service. It is still not clear why Kiboi’s memorial service was being treated as a private or semi-secret matter when Kiboi was a public official who had many friends who deserved to know about his memorial service.

The memorial service came in the wake of concerns by Mr. Gerry Midenyo, head of “Wazee Hukumbaka Club” in Kesofo, that such a service was necessary. Mr. Midenyo told KSB that it would be wrong for Kiboi’s body to be transported to Kenya without a memorial service in Stockholm. The Kenyan challenged the Embassy, the Kenya Social Forum in Sweden and people around the family to organize the service.

The Ambassador, Mr. Kinyanjui, dismissed rumours in Stockholm that Mr. Kiboi’s family had been denied the right to view the body in Oslo last week.

“As far as I am concerned, the family has taken control of the body and this is the protocol”, he said.

Talk in Stockholm had it that Kiboi’s family had been informed that they could only view the body in Kenya due to some unspecified reasons.

Sources have told KSB that Kiboi’s body will probably leave for Kenya on Friday September 29th. The body will be transported to Kenya directly from Norway. The Kenyan government will foot the bill.

In the meantime, there is still silence in Norway about the circumstances that might have led to Mr. Kiboi’s death. People who were around Kiboi moments before his death have made a unilateral decision to give Kiboi’s family time to mourn. They have decided to take it easy about narrations about what happened as a sign of respect to Kiboi’s family, friends and sympathizers who are all in deep mourning.

Contacts in Kenya who have sent mail to KSB say that the general position at home is that Kiboi might have been killed. “The issue for us is the details”, wrote a contact. A police report about Kiboi’s death has still not been released by the Norwegian police. KSB is awaiting the report and will publish its details as soon as they become available.

Okoth Osewe

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