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Gov't & opposition officials clash at Rita Tinina's burial ceremony

Edwin Sifuna, Dennis Itumbi, Babu Owino, Ledama Ole Kina, Enoch Wambua are among those who spoke at the burial of Rita Tinina

Government and opposition clash at Rita Tinina's burial in Narok

Government and opposition officials clashed during the burial of the late NTV journalist Rita Tinina on Wednesday over allegations of fake fertilizer.

The topic was brought up during the speeches by Nominated Narok MCA Leah Ntimama, who castigated the government over the reports and asked that farmers should ensure they check the fertilizers before using them on their farms.

Taking the cue, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua remarked that the fertilizer distributed by the government contained grounded rocks and donkey waste.

“Those who followed proceedings in the Senate yesterday, we pronounced ourselves clearly on this matter. We want a government that is responsible and treats its farmers and the critical masses fairly.


"The truth of the matter is that the fertilizer is not fake because it is not fertilizer in the first place. It is rocks and donkey waste, and somebody must take responsibility for this,” he said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina, who called for accountability and asked God to heavily punish those who wish citizens harm.

Digital strategist Dennis Itumbi, who spoke next, offered the first rebuttal from the government side, accusing the opposition of spreading propaganda.

He said that the fertilizer was genuine and argued that it was the reason behind the bumper harvest that resulted in the lowering of the price of maize flour.


“We wish to remember Rita as the queen and master of storytelling, and stories of truth. Some of the stories we have heard here before I spoke are not true. Last year because of good fertilizer, we improved the bags that were harvested from 60 million to 80 million. Because of good fertilizer, the demand for fertilizer has gone up by 200,000 acres.

“Finally, my friend senator from Kitui has said that it was rocks and donkey waste. I was lucky to have grown up in Mwea where we rear donkeys and even so we used donkey waste as fertilizer,” he said.

He challenged the MCA who introduced the topic to produce receipts from farmers who had received the alleged fake fertilizer, and he would compensate them before the end of the funeral.

Itumbi then invited State House Press Secretary Emmanuel Taalam, who declined to speak on the issue, citing respect for the departed journalist and the family. He also appealed to other speakers to honor the occasion.


“Because of my respect and love for Rita Tinina, I will not speak about fertilizer because I have lost a father myself. We have all lost a relative or friend. Let me tell you, good people, I am not saying that to cover for the government or the president, but I am talking out of experience.

"Let’s have a bit of respect. Malkia (Rita’s daughter) doesn't know about fertilizer, donkeys, Ruto, Wambua, or Olekina. She wants to be comforted,” he said and proceeded to deliver his eulogy, recalling his past crush on the departed journalist.

Taalam also read President William Ruto’s speech in which the head of state praised Rita as a diligent journalist.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, who had the next opportunity at the podium, said that the good die young but the bad people like those in government live long to trouble Kenyans.


“On this issue of fertilizer, there is no way the government can allow such a thing to happen if they are not directly involved.

"That is why we were told the president cannot address that issue because he knows what is going on. We want this government to take responsibility and the CSs to resign,” he said.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, on his part, castigated Taalam for attempting to dissuade the speakers from addressing the controversial topic.

“Because we are at the funeral of a journalist who was known to unearth information, let us not hide things. You cannot tell us not to talk about things that concern our citizens. If there are questions to be asked about government they should be directed to those in power.


“You cannot sell us dubious fertilizer then tell us not to raise concern on behalf of Kenyans. If Rita was here to do an expose, maybe she would have found that this fertilizer was brought by Taalam who is saying we should not ask questions,” he said.

Later, Itumbi took to social media to announce that the government had suspended the distribution of fertilizer to allow investigations into the allegations.


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