There was drama at Eldoret’s Public Cemetery Kiplombe on Friday, September 11 after a group of mourners forcefully exhumed the body of a 32-year-old woman saying they cannot allow the government to bury their loved one without paying their last respect.
According to reports, drama ensued after a group of four health workers drawn from Uasin Gishu county, all dressed in PPEs, conducted the burial of the woman, whom they said succumbed to COVID-19.
It was after they had buried the deceased and where preparing to leave, that the mourners who had gathered at the cemetery threatened to exhume her remains, forcing the officers to warn the crowd against making good on their threats.
The determinant mourners, however, stayed put, saying they wanted to view the woman’s body because she “loved us genuinely, and, on several occasions, bought us alcohol”.
It is reported that the deceased worked at an Agrovet firm in Eldoret town and was so popular among the residents, as evident by the huge turn out experienced during her burial on Friday afternoon.
Taking advantage of their large numbers and the absence of police officers at the cemetery, the agitated youth chased away the health officer and embarked on exhuming the woman’s remains.
Upon exhuming the casket, they reportedly threw away the polythene paper used to wrap the coffin, opened it and viewed the body in an exercise that lasted for 30 minutes.
They later lowered the casket back into the grave as the deceased family watched from a distance.
During the one-hour drama, a section of the mourners were heard saying: “hakuna corona Kenya, na wanataka kuzika huyu mrembo ni kama alikufa na hiyo ugonjwa (there is no coronavirus in Kenya, yet they wanted to bury the deceased like a victim of COVID-19, [we could not allow that to happen].)”
This comes just a week after the ministry of health communicated that they were going to revise all burial protocols after new research backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that bodies cannot spread COVID-19.
While addressing the press on Monday last week, Kenya’s Head of Public Health, Dr. Francis Kuria communicated that soon, health officers won’t be deployed to oversee the burial of COVID-19 victims.
He also added that the covid-19 bodies will be released