Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has delinked himself from a story by Star claiming he advocates for the cremation of dead bodies amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking to Twitter, the AU special envoy clarified that the report by the publication was a continuation of the sensational misreporting thus should be ignored.
Further, he stated that during his interview with local media, he called on Kenyans to embrace speedy burials and avoid elaborate crowded ceremonies in a bid to contain and stop the spread of the virus.
“I wish to clarify that in my interview with Kameme TV and Radio Milele, I did not ask the Luo or any other Kenyan and African community to cremate the dead as reported by The Star Newspaper. Instead, I called on Kenyans to embrace speedy burials and avoid elaborate and crowded burial ceremonies at this time of COVID-19 to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus,” reads the tweet in part.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) May 28, 2020
He added,” I ask Kenyans to treat the report in The Star as a continuation of the sensational misreporting that has characterized the paper lately including a recent false and sensational report that I was to head an economic recovery team.”
According to Odinga, cremation has never been part of the culture of most African communities and must not be imposed on people now.
On May 26, 2020, the publication quoted Odinga stating that dead bodies should be cremated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 instead of burying them.
Apparently, the publication also alluded that during the interview, Odinga had linked the transportation of bodies to burials as a dangerous practice that exposes mourners to the virus.
“My mother died while I was in detention and I visited the graveside four years later upon release. Don’t go to funerals that are not a must such as those for people not related to you. We must stop this cultural belief that a dead person must be ferried and buried upcountry. They can be buried in cemeteries in urban areas where they died,” Quoted the publication.
The message ignited fury among netizens who took to various social media platforms to castigate Odinga as they termed the move unfavourable to their cultures.