Ministers caught unawares by Kibaki’s funds drive: Wambugu Kanyi - The Star

PRESIDENT Kibaki's instant harambee at a burial ceremony in his Othaya constituency over the weekend caught many dignitaries including Cabinet ministers off guard.

Kibaki was attending the burial ceremony of his long time friend Herman Maingi at Karima Catholic Church when he changed the programme and conducted a harambee in the church.

When he was delivering his 15-minute speech, he told mourners that when he was entering the church he noticed that a section of the church was leaking.

He asked them to make contributions on the spot. The dignitaries were forced to literally dig into their pockets. Those who did not have were seen seeking help from friends.

Gender minister Esther Murugi who invited the President to address the mourners was one of those who had no money at the time as she had not carried her handbag into the church. Sitting near the Head of State, she was seen borrowing some from Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae.

Assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando was at the function also attended by MPs Nelson Gai-chuhie, Erastus Mureithi, Nemesyus Warugongo, John Mututho, Lenny Kivuti, Nderitu Muriithi and Clement Wambugu.

Others were Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura, presidential adviser Prof Nick Wanjohi, Permanent Secretaries Francis Kimemia and Joseph Kamau, and Central Provincial Commissioner Kiplimo Rugut.

Kibaki donated Sh200,000 in the abrupt hara-mbee which raised more than Sh400,000.
Kibaki caused a prolonged laughter when his said of an elderly man, "na huyu kijana tulikuwa tunasoma na yeye" (and this young man was my classmate).

Photojournalists were barred from covering the event and only five reporters who had arrived before the President were left in the church while more than 10 others were kept at bay.

The presidential guards ordered those with cameras out of the church including their own Presidential Press Service.

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