Shirandula’s wife lays blame on hospital for actor’s death

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 00:00 |
Covid-19 Emergency Response Team prepares to lower to the grave the casket containing actor Charles Bukeko’s remains in Nanderema village, Funyula constituency in Busia county, yesterday. Photo/PD/HENRY ANDANJE

Henry Andanje, Benjamin Wakoli and Elly Gitau

The wife of the late popular TV actor and comedian Charles Bukeko alias Papa Shirandula has accused Nairobi’s Karen Hospital for allegedly causing his death by not conducting three tests.

Speaking during his burial yesterday, Beatrice Andega said when Bukeko was taken to the hospital on Saturday, he was supposed to be tested for three diseases; malaria, pneumonia and Covid-19, but alleged the health facility only concentrated on Covid-19.

“I told my husband to go to Karen Hospital on Saturday to be tested for malaria, Covid-19 and pneumonia, but they (the hospital) only concentrated on Covid-19, leaving out the other two,” said Adenga.

She added the late actor was out of his Nairobi home for three weeks on a work mission until when he returned last Saturday complaining he was feeling unwell.

On Monday, Andega added, the husband only showed to her the Covid-19 results and none for the other diseases before he developed difficulties in breathing.

Positive results

According to his family, Bukeko tested positive of the virus and was allowed by the medical team to isolate himself at home, before his state deteroriated on Saturday morning.

He was rushed to Karen Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

However, the Karen Hospital distanced itself from the claims that it was culpable for the death of Charles Bukeko, saying it was “greatly aggrieved” by the negligence allegations.

“…The Karen Hospital is specialised hospital licensed and certified by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board,” the hospital’s CEO Juliet Nyaga said in a statement yesterday.

She added, “The Karen Hospital staff have continued to maintain this high quality of service to the Kenyan people even during the Covid-19 pandemic as per the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation guidelines and protocols of care and treatment of Covid-19.”

The burial

The iconic screen star was laid to rest yesterday morning at his rural home in Nanderema village, Funyula constituency in Busia county.

It was a sad moment for many of his fans, family, colleagues and friends to see the renowned TV actor’s remains being interred with less than 50 people in attendance.

Busia County Covid-19 Emergency Response Team coordinator Dr David Mukabi told said that only a few people and family members were allowed to attend the burial in accordance to the Health ministry guidelines aimed at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

The burial service was conducted by Pastor Stephen Owino. Papa’s father Cosmas Bukeko said the coronavirus pandemic had denied him a chance to give his beloved son a decent send off according to the Luhya culture.

“My son was a prominent person whose burial was supposed to be attended by many people, but they were barred to pay their last respect due to coronavirus,” he said.

His brother Nick Wafula mourned the fallen 58-year-old star as the pillar of their family, saying they would greatly miss his wise counsel.

His remains arrived at Nanderema village at 3am on Monday and buried just minutes after 8am.

Among the actors and comedians present at the burial were Wilbroda, Jalang’o, Captain Otoyo, Juma Anderson, Njoro and Zebedeo Mshamba.

Acting career

Bukeko was popularly known for his starring role as a watchman in popular sitcom Papa Shirandula on Citizen TV.

He joined the acting industry after clearing high school at Upper Hill Secondary School in Nairobi, where he had developed a love for football.

In 1998, he met Dr Ochieng’ Odera, who became his first director before moving on to Phoenix Theatre where he ran into thespian Ian Mbugua.

Mbugua introduced him to James Falkland, who trained him for three years on the basics of theatre performances. But his breakthrough came with Papa Shirandula in 2010.

In the same year, he won a Kalasha award for the Best Actor in a TV Series.

He was also featured in the film The Captain of Nakara, besides acting in a plethora of TV commercials, which endeared him to his broad fan base.

“My story is one that gives hope to thousands of aspiring actors in the country having climbed from the unfathomable levels of deep poverty,” Bukeko told a local publication in a previous interview.

He is survived by wife Beatrice Ebbie Andega, and children Tony, Charlie and Wendy.

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