What you need to know:
- Some burial rights and customs leave the families of the deceased in impoverishment.
Until this week, I had little knowledge about the burial rites of Muslims. Mr Yusuf Haji, the chairman of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and Senator for Garissa County, died early on Monday and he was buried before the end of the day.
There was no pomp and colour during his burial ceremony. There were no lengthy speeches, no eating, no drinking, and no ululation.
There were only prayers that did not last more than 10 minutes. The family buried their kin and retreated to their homes to mourn.
Mr Haji was a senior personality in the government. As usual, the government could have declared several days of mourning.
In what seemed like a paradox, while Mr Haji's family was mourning the sudden demise of their patriarch and planning to accord him a simple send off, Mr Simeon Nyachae's burial ceremony was underway at Gusii Stadium, Kisii County.
In Kisii, it was pomp and colour as prominent politicians from across the political divide showered the fallen leader with flowery compliments. Lengthy speeches were made by the leaders. One of Mr Nyachae's wives even advised young men to invest in their wives.
Mr Nyachae died and the nation mourned for 14 days. He was buried on the same day as Mr Haji.
Mr Nyachae's funeral fete is a grand representation of burial ceremonies of nearly all Kenyan communities.
Whenever a person dies, whether rich or poor, first and foremost, their respective families form a burial committee that will decide on the site where the deceased will be buried in his compound, how the hospital bill will be settled (they usually hype harambees) and the food mourners will take on the burial day. They even wait for relatives who live in distant lands to join in the mourning.
Some Kenyan communities mourn the death of their kin with great feast. Some hire 'professional' mourners to give their fallen fellow a decent send-off.
The drama and the melodrama comes on the burial day when all the family members are called to line up to be introduced to the mourners after the presiding priest has given an hour-plus sermon and lengthy speeches by close and distant relatives.
By the time the fellow is buried, the grain stores of the affected family are empty, having fed the mourners to their full.
Some burial rights and customs leave the families of the deceased in impoverishment. It is high time Kenyan Christians changed their burial rites.
Bonny Mutai, Bomet