A cloud of sorrow engulfed Gachuiro village, Mathira East Sub –County, Nyeri County during the funeral service of a school principal and his two sons.
Stephen Weru, 45, and his two sons Collins Njenga, 17, and Elvis Maina, 11, were laid to rest in the same grave. They perished together in a canoe tragedy on Tuesday last week in Sagana River on the boundary between Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties.
The late Weru was the deputy principal at Karema-ini secondary school in Murang’a while his two sons were learners, Njenga a Form three student at Kerugoya Boys High school in Kirinyaga and Maina, a standard six pupil at Technology primary school in Murang’a.
The trio was trying to access their farm in Murang’a County using a canoe when it capsized while at the middle of the river and they drowned.
“I tried to save them when I heard their father’s scream for help but the waters overwhelmed me,” said his farm hand Mr. Dickson Theuri.
Theuri added that help from Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties came late and could not help in saving the lives of the trio and called for the construction of a bridge to connect the two counties.
Murang’a Catholic Bishop James Maria Wainaina who presided over the funeral service asked the National and the Murang’a and Kirinyaga county governments to construct a bridge at the scene to ensure no more lives were lost through drowning.
Bishop Wainaina said that several people have fallen victims as they tried to cross to either of the two counties but at the same time warned residents against using canoes to cross the river without expert divers to save their lives.
“I call upon the residents to stop using the canoes without professional divers as this is risking their lives,” Bishop Wainana said during the funeral.
He at the same time asked Kenyans to strictly adhere to the government and Ministry of Health protocols to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
The bishop noted that the coronavirus disease had no cure and the only effective way to contain it was following the guidelines put in place.
“He was a mentor of the boy-child at Murang’a Catholic diocese and we have lost a great and dedicated teacher,” Murang’a Catholic Men’s Association (CMA) chair Mr. Joseph Mwangi eulogized the late principal.
He said that the Murang’a CMA was counting on him to nurture the next generation of men but the cruel hand of death had robbed them off, him and his two sons.
Mwangi added that an expectant mother recently drowned at the same scene in river Sagana and similarly appealed to the two devolved units to construct a bridge to link the two regions.
Bishop Wainaina and the CMA chair called on the county governments to train professional divers to be engaged when such incidents occur.
Weru leaves behind a wife and a four years old daughter.
By Mwangi Gaitha