Saturday’s cremation of the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth has angered many Kabondo Kasipul residents who hoped to get a chance to bid farewell to their son.
But one woman’s reactions, recorded on camera, revealed just how much the community feels about cremation, the process of disposing a dead person’s body by burning it to ashes.
Many affluent and well-educated Kenyans have left wills, ordering their kin to cremate their bodies after their death, instead of being buried as has been for centuries.
The Kabondo Kasipul woman, identified only as Achoko, seems to have expressed a valid point, one that resonates with many Kenyans.
Some of her views though are not politically correct and could be deemed racist after advocated for Luo men to keep off European women to avoid strange customs.
Achoko concurred with the late MP’s mother, Angeline Ajwang Ongere, who was opposed to the cremations of her son and instead preferred a burial service be performed in Kabondo Kasipul according to the Luo customs.
In a video that went viral on social media, the woman adamantly advocated for the traditional [burial] way of sending off to the dead.
“As a mother, I want to wake up and see his grave in my compound. That is what we have always done,” the woman is heard saying in Swahili.
Achoko said it pained her to learn that Ken Okoth’s body was cremated.
“Were it me, I would have been burnt alongside my son’s body…It is mothers who know the pain of childbirth. A wife should not have say over her husband, the mother should be consulted,” said Achoko.
She African customs do not allow for cremation of dead bodies.
Achoko said that mothers are the only people who understand the pain of raising and losing a child, therefore, they should entirely be accorded the right to decide on their children’s final send off.
“Men don’t go to labour. So as a mother, I am the one who feels the pain when my son is cremated against my wishes. Only mothers should have the right to decide whether to go for cremation or burial. Women who rush to cremate their husbands, please wait for you children because they are the ones you have rights over,” she said.
“It is sad that our son Ken Okoth was cremated in Nairobi instead of being brought here [Kabondo Kasipul] for burial. Why should someone take our son for cremation?”
Ken Okoth’s mother, Ms Ajwang, did not took part in the cremation ceremony.