Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 03:27 pm
Officials in western Kenya have exhumed the body of a local man to strip him of the uniform he was buried in, according to reports.
Martin Shikuku Alukoye was buried in his full Kakamega County Youth Service uniform after drowning this month.
Local officials then exhumed the body to retrieve the uniform, despite opposition from his family.
His widow, Jacqueline, told BBC Swahili she was shocked and said the exhumation has made her suffering worse.
“This has piled on the misery I am going through, and my children are still young, since I was born I have never experienced such,” she said in an interview. “I would like to request them to leave me in peace”
Mr Alukoye’s uncle said they had violated “the laws of the land and the laws of our forefathers”.
“We had fully involved the county government in the burial arrangements and they never resisted our proposal to bury [him] in his work regalia,” Francis Mutamba said, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.
The family said they had opposed requests from officials to retrieve the uniform following the 31-year-old’s burial, but that officials then did so without their consent or a court order.
The assistant chief of the Ituti area, Daniel Namayi, condemned the exhumation as he threatened legal action against the officers.
“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,” he told the Daily Nation.
Elders of the Abang’onya clan have also criticised the county officials for the exhumation, which they view as being taboo.
“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,” Mr Mutamba said.
The body was dressed in a new set of clothes and re-buried earlier this week after elders performed rituals to cleanse the family.