Kenya: Coronavirus - Govt Defends Controversial Night Burial of Siaya Man

(file photo).

The government has backed the controversial and hurried night burial of a man who died from coronavirus in Siaya county on Saturday.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and his Education counterpart George Magoha defended the move, seeing nothing wrong in how the deceased was buried.

Kagwe and Prof Magoha were speaking during the daily press briefing to update the country on the pandemic in Nairobi on Monday following a wide public backlash.

"I want to say in an honest a term as I can, and be brutally honest, that our cultural practices on how we dispose the bodies of our loved ones may not be practical in an extreme situation," Kagwe said.

He therefore asked Kenyans to be mentally prepared to accept steps being taken by the government and health workers to handle bodies of Covid-19 victims.

"I, therefore, want our people to be mentally prepared and accept that Covid-19 victims' bodies shall be disposed of in a manner that protects the living from infections and in accordance with Ministry of Health burial protocols," added the CS.

His remarks were supported by Prof Magoha, who coincidentally hails from Siaya county, who said the drastic move was taken to protect the lives of locals.

"Being a Luo from Siaya, our goal is to ensure that the disease is controlled, there's a tendency for people to lean more towards culture. What was done was in the interest of all parties involved," The Education CS added.

The two cabinet secretaries spoke against a backdrop of a public outcry over the burial of Kenya Ports Authority employee James Oyugi in the dead of the night.

An amateur video in the possession of Nairobi News showed the deceased's body, wrapped in a body bag, being pushed into a shallow grave by two health officials.

The two health officials, who were in full protection gear, are believed to be from the Siaya county, even as governor Cornel Rasanga has remained mum on the matter.

More From: Nairobi News

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