Officials of the Kakamega County of the east African country are reported to have exhumed the corpse of a 31-year-old man just to recover the Youth Service uniform in which he was buried.
According to reports, Martin Shikuku Alukoy died as a result of drowning this month and was buried according to tradition.
His unhappy uncle, Francis Mutamba is quoted as saying the Kakamega County officials have breached “the laws of the land and the laws of our forefathers” by exhuming his nephew’s body.
“We had fully involved the county government in the burial arrangements and they never resisted our proposal to bury [him] in his work regalia,” he added in an interview with the Daily Nation newspaper.
It appears there is no end in sight for this matter any time soon, as the assistant chief of the Ituti area where the dramatic incident occurred, Daniel Namayi has threatened a legal action against the officials.
According to the family, despite resistance against the exhumation, the officials went ahead and carried it out without recourse to their customs.
“Once a body has been buried, it requires anyone with a complaint to get a court order in order to exhume it. The county administrators have gone against the law in recovering [the] clothing,” Daniel Namayi is quoted as saying.
Elders of the Abang’onya clan have also condemned the development, saying it amounts to serious sacrilege.
“We had decided to bury our son at night in line with culture which dictates that a person who died by drowning should not be buried while the sun is shining. But the county officers have surprised us when they decided to exhume the body to recover their regalia,” they said.
Meanwhile, the body is reported to have been reburied this week after the offended elders had performed some cleansing rituals.
Maybe, the next time bodies are being prepared for burial, due diligence should be done to ensure the corpse is not ‘going home’ with anything indispensable.