Kenya: COVID-19 Scare After Taxi Driver Dies in His Car in Juja

The scene caught the eyes of many, at a time almost every move and incident is deemed suspicious.

In the video posted on social media on Monday, three people in white suits and other protective clothing are covering and zipping up a man in a body bag.

A fourth man, with a hand pump, approaches the group and sprays a car parked nearby.

This is the vehicle James Maina used to operate as a taxi.

To many residents, what was being zipped up in the bag was a living Covid-19 patient. The truth, however, is that Maina had died in the car.

'TERRIBLE SCENE'

When his body was being taken metres from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja on Sunday morning, witnesses thought Maina had died from Covid-19.

"The whole exercise created a terrible scene. Many people thought he had been killed by the virus," Mr Charles Chege, whose brother's car Maina used to operate as a taxi, said.

According to Mr Chege, picking a corpse in a body bag without ascertaining the cause of death "is not good, and only adds pain and sadness to the bereaved".

He added that Maina was known to him for long.

The taxi driver died outside a clinic, having spent the whole Saturday night in the car with all windows rolled up and doors locked.

Locals became suspicious when they found the car with mist on its windows on Sunday morning.

"I used to drive the car before he took it. When people saw it, they thought I was the one inside. I began receiving calls at 6am but went back to sleep," Mr Chege said.

"The number of calls increased. When I finally picked up the phone, the caller said some people were attempting to break the car windows."

He added that Maina's death is mysterious as he was not ill.

"He was working normally. Maina may have been going home before curfew time and dropped by some joint for a drink. It is probably at this time that he began feeling sick," Mr Chege said.

According to witnesses, the vehicle was seen speeding with lights on, before being found where it was parked on Sunday.

HOOTED REPEATEDLY

Locals said the vehicle also hooted repeatedly and the security guards at the hospital may have ignored Maina thinking he was drunk. That was around 8pm on Saturday.

Maina then slumped in his seat with a foot on the clutch and appeared to have fallen asleep.

Mr Chege said Maina may have been trying to seek urgent treatment.

"He never parks there but he sped towards the hospital on that day," he said.

"His drink may have been spiked or he was just drunk. Perhaps he suffocated."

The car keys and Maina's mobile phone were in his pockets.

Maina's wife Esther Wangari said he had not been sick.

"He was fine when he left the house. He never even sneezed. There are many questions that demand answers. His lips were dry when I saw the body," she said.

"I tried contacting him but he did not pick my calls. I thought he was busy," she said.

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