Covid-19: Bukusu elders warned against exhuming bodies

Bungoma County health workers during the burial of Dr Adisa Lugaliki in Tongaren last month. Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The rationale for exhumations, locals say, is the belief that the dead have been resurrecting at night and haunting relatives.

A Bungoma-based priest has warned a section of Bukusu elders against exhuming bodies of people who have succumbed to Covid-19 and reburying them in line with local culture and traditions. 

Kimatuni parish priest Payas Lukhale lashed out at families who have allowed exhumations to happen, terming the act as a danger to residents.

It is said that some families have exhumed bodies of their relatives to secretly rebury them at night. 

The rationale for this, locals say, is the belief that the dead have been resurrecting at night and haunting relatives while demanding a proper send-off in line with Bukusu traditions. 

According to Luhya customs and traditions, a dead person is supposed to be buried after certain rituals are performed on his or her body. 

Speaking in Bungoma town, Mr Lukhale called upon Bungoma County Commissioner Abdi Hassan to arrest those found exhuming bodies.

"A section of our elders who we respect very much have been coming up with false beliefs that buried persons have not been laid to rest properly. I want to tell the elders that the State and church have respect for the dead and are above the beliefs they have," he said. 

Some of the people who have so far died from coronavirus in Bungoma include Antony Waswa, the brother of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula, who was buried in Kabuchai and Dr Adisa Lugaliki from Tongaren. 

Prof Mangoli Kizito, who died of Covid-19, was also buried in Kanduyi Constituency two weeks ago. 

Martin Kulabusia, a former CBK communications officer, also died of Covid-19 and was buried in Webuye East.