Nairobi. Under the watchful eye of prison warders — many in plain clothes — Sarah Wairimu lay a bunch of flowers on the grave of her late husband Tob Cohen, whose murder has gripped the nation.
“I am not scared of anybody,” she said after she was asked to speak.
A small crowd of onlookers stood at a distance watching the ceremony attended by the Cohen’s Kenyan friends and his brother Bernard.
“It is a sad end,” Bernard told the Nation after laying flowers after Ms Wairimu left the grave site, which will be guarded overnight by police.
The rites began at the mortuary shortly after 3pm Tuesday before the convoy escorting the deceased snaked its way to the mortuary, where onlookers and journalists were kept at bay until the rites were completed and Cohen’s body buried — by both the rabbi and Jewish security men; their pistols clear in the waistbands of their trousers.
Later, Mr Cliff Ombeta, Cohen’s lawyer, said: “I have requested two police officers from Parklands to keep guard — just in case people think we buried him with jewels; which we did not.”
As Ms Wairimu left the old Jewish cemetery in Parklands, Nairobi, the crowd of onlookers charged forward at the gate and heckled her as the police vehicle sped off to Lang’ata Women’s Prison, where she has been detained pending the hearing of a case in which she is accused of killing the reputed golf organiser and entombing him in an underground water tank.
She had been allowed by a Nairobi court to attend the burial — a legal compromise agreed upon by the Cohen family led by Mr Ombeta and Ms Wairimu’s lawyer, Mr Phillip Murgor.
Ms Wairimu was allowed to make a short speech and mourn her husband and she accused Cohen’s friends of coming to the funeral to shed crocodile tears.
“I’m not scared of anybody,” she said. “One thing Tob taught me is not to take no for an answer. So, even in this I’m going to fight. And even as we stand here … the ones responsible for Tob’s death are here in sheep’s skin, your days are numbered.”
Some of Cohen’s closest friends attended the private funeral and included Muthaiga Golf Club members.
Among those present and who were allowed to speak were former Gatundu MP Ngengi Muigai, his brother Mr Kung’u Muigai and former Gatundu North MP Kariuki Muiruri, who eulogised him as a gentleman.
But it was Ms Wairimu’s remarks that caught them off guard.
“That was an insult to us,” said Mr Kung’u, the man who negotiated Ms Wairimu’s dowry when she married Cohen.
“I have known Sarah and Cohen for many years and I don’t know why she is angry with his friends for seeking to know what happened to our friend.”
At the funeral, Ms Wairimu had been given a small bouquet of red and yellow roses, which she held by her chest waiting for a signal on when to lay them on the grave. When the time came, she bent to pay her last respects to the man she lived with for a decade.
She then stared at the grave for a moment, blew a kiss and walked away as a battery of journalists swarmed to take pictures.
Undeterred by the heavy presence of armed police, Ms Wairimu, who in her previous public appearances kept her emotions hidden, shed tears for the first time in public as she maintained her innocence.
While the entrance to the cemetery was restricted to family and friends of the late Cohen, a handful of his widow's relatives managed to get in as well and they stood by Ms Wairimu’s side during the entire ceremony.
Ms Wairimu’s lawyer Philip Murgor said his client was gratified that the deceased had been granted a dignified send off and politics kept aside.
Tob Cohen went missing on July 19/20 and his wife had told her friends that he had left for treatment in Thailand. But Cohen’s sister, Gabriele Van Straten alerted the Dutch police that her brother was missing in Kenya.
Investigations by Directorate of Criminal Investigations later uncovered his body inside a water tank — some 55 days after he disappeared.