Siaya Senator James Orengo has joined the general public in condemning the bizarre burial of one of his constituents alleged to have contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19).
James Oyugi Onyango was hurriedly buried on Sunday at 2.30 am in a shallow grave.
In a viral video, the deceased, who was an employee of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), was placed in a body bag, carried out of the back of a pick-up and dumped in a gravesite.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, Orengo said he will take legal action against officials in both the national and county governments at the centre of the macabre burial through Nelson Havi and Company Advocates.
Orengo says the officials flouted protocols laid out by government regarding respect for the dead, their cultural and religious traditions.
According to Orengo, the officials ignored the need to offer comfort and solace to the grieving family.
“Human dignity does not end with death. In all cultures across the world, the burial of the dead is a solemn event accompanied with elaborate rituals. We respect the dead and that is why we have graves, tombs, crypts, mausoleums and pyramids. Veneration of the dead is based on love, respect and dignity for the deceased. Even the dead in major wars and civil strife have their remains interred in cemeteries, ” said Orengo.
“…The crude and macabre burial in the dead of the night with little concern for the grieving family and the community has no place in a caring and decent society.”
The Senator further said he’ll raise the issue with the Senate appealing to the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe to provide a statement regarding Onyango’s cause of death and how government officials handled his body.
“I will, therefore, seek a statement tomorrow in the Senate from the Cabinet Secretary requiring him to explain the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the burial of James Oyugi Onyango and the role of both the national and county governments in the awful, gruesome and despicable burial of James Oyugi Onyango in the dead of the night, ” said Orengo.
While acknowledging government effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the Senator said there is need to fight the contagious disease without stigma.
“If James Oyugi Onyango’s death was caused by COVID-19 the conduct of the burial caused more harm than good and may have endangered other lives. COVID-19 pandemic is better fought without stigma, ” he added.
“The coronavirus has invaded the corridors of power and royalty. Even the heights of the aristocracy and the celebrity world have not been spared by this invisible enemy and contagion.”