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Covid-19 victims secretly exhumed, buried by Bukusu elders

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  • Covid-19 victims secretly exhumed, buried by Bukusu elders


    Covid-19 victims secretly exhumed, buried by Bukusu elders
    Elders exhume, supervise the reburial of 2 bodies that were 'improperly' buried.
    31 July 2020 - 08:15

    In Summary

    • Global public health expert Dr Bernard Muia told The Star there's still no study on how long the virus survives in dead or buried bodies.

    • In April, the Ministry of Health published guidelines stipulating that bodies of Covid-19 victims should be buried within 48 hours.

    Bodies of individuals killed by Covid-19 in Western Kenya are being secretly exhumed and accorded Bukusu burial rites.

    Under the new Ministry of Health regulations, funerals have changed from a nearly all-day affair to a hurried one-hour service mostly at dawn, supervised by health officials in hazmat suits.

    But fearful of a curse, Bukusu elders have now opted to exhume and supervise the burial of two bodies that were 'improperly' buried.

    According to Bukusu culture, bodies are to be buried in a resting position.

    The head must always face away from the compound and shoes, necktie, shirt and trouser must all be loosened.

    If this is not done, it is believed the dead person will constantly harass family members in their dreams, the elders say.

    One prominent reburial, which took place this week, involved the family of a politician whose father sits in the Bukusu Council of Elders and brought together all the elders for the exhumation ritual.

    Council chairman Patrick Chaka said the community is keen on enforcing traditions.

    He said the community has a way of burying their loved ones depending on the cause of death...