Goons loot Jaramogi Oginga mortuary during Azimio protests
In an embarrassing and bizarre turn of events, goons took advantage of the Azimio demonstrations on Thursday and stormed a newly opened mortuary at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), vandalised it and stole items worth millions of shillings.
Weeks of riots that have interrupted the lives and businesses of Kisumu residents did not spare even the dead who have been lying in silence and frozen inside the morgue.
The rioters damaged a hearse and carted away equipment including trolleys and computers.
Others carried away furniture that had been placed at the lounge of the Sh37 million ultra-modern funeral home which was officially opened two days ago.
The troublemakers alleged that a secondary school student was shot dead by police and his body moved by police to the JOOTRH morgue.
However, by press time, the shot student was still in the hospital.
When the rioters raided the facility, they were denied an opportunity to view the alleged body something that angered them.
“These police officers ran with the body of a student who had been shot dead. When we went we could not find the body and that is why we demanded answers from the facility and things went ugly,” said one of the rioters.
Some could be seen carrying a snazzy new three-seater yellow sofa set trying to disappear into the Russian Quarters estate and across the road to the informal settlements of Manyatta.
By 6.30pm, the rioters were still milling around the facility hoping to loot more items from the facility.
Kisumu Governor, Prof Anyang' Nyong'o condemned the destruction of the funeral home claiming goons posing as protesters were the ones who broke down the gate damaged and looted expensive morgue equipment which he commissioned last week.
He described the attack on the new funeral home, the first of its kind in Nyanza, as barbaric.
“Why did the police fail to protect the facility from the gang which also carted away computers and other valuable equipment? The police must hunt and arrest the criminals,” said Governor Nyong’o.
The facility includes a state-of-the-art Farewell Parlour, a Doctors Call Suite and a refurbished Medical Ward, which was to bolster the modernisation agenda that seeks to strengthen service delivery to the citizenry.
The Sh37 million mortuary, christened, "Kwee Funeral Home", is one of its kind within the Western circuit, said to be only comparable to Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.
Financed the construction
The facility is born out of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Emory University Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (Champs) project and the county government of Kisumu.
The County Government financed the construction of the building to the tune of Sh13 million with Kenya Champs Site, CDC Kenya and Emory University equipping the facility at a cost of Sh24 million.
The mortuary comes complete with a modern 24-hour body refrigeration unit, an indoor body trolley with tray, an outdoor body trolley with tray and cover, a post-mortem table, a sample safe, an embalming table, an autopsy set and a hydraulic body lift.
The Doctor's Call Suites put up at a cost of Sh12 million, will go a long way in ensuring that patients who require emergency and critical care are attended to without any hitches as the doctors on call will from now on be accommodated within the facility.
Earlier, some goons also raided the Jamia Supermarket on Nyerere Road in Kisumu, vandalised it and looted items.
Its proprietor Mr Hussein Hassan estimates the losses and damages at Sh13 million.