All burial ceremonies in Kilifi County will henceforth be supervised by police officers in new measures to contain the spread of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Governor Amason Kingi said it would be an offence punishable by law for any family to bury their kin without notifying the police, and ordered village elders and nyumbakumi ambassadors to ensure strict compliance with the directive.
Speaking to journalists in Kilifi Town, Mr. Kingi said the measures are meant to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 following the confirmation of 10 cases in the coastal county.
Mr. Kingi, who was flanked by County Commissioner Magu Mutindika said bodies removed from public and private morgues will have to be accompanied by police officers to the burial sites while village elders and nyumbakumi ambassadors will have to notify the police before any burial of those who die at home can take place.
“Whenever a person dies at home, village elders and nyumbakumi ambassadors will have to notify the police, who must be present during the burial to ensure social distancing and other directives are followed,” he said.
His sentiments come on the backdrop of reports that many residents in the county were flouting national and county government directives meant to contain the spread of the global pandemic.
“Since many people are deliberately not following the directives, we have decided to institute more stringent measures to stop the spread of the virus with a view to saving our people,” he said.
“If you are keen on attending the burial of your loved one, you may be the next person to be buried after contracting the disease and spreading it to your close family members, who may also die of the same,” he added.
Mr. Kingi at the same time castigated fans of local alcoholic drinks such as palm wine (mnazi) for refusing to adhere to Ministry of Health directives and the county government’s ban on all drinking dens.
“Despite our directives, we recently found more than 200 people taking mnazi in one drinking den. What is more worrying is that they were sharing drinking containers and straws, a very sure way of spreading to virus,” he lamented.
Last week, scores of people, including a police officer and a prison warder working outside the county, were arrested as they were taking mnazi at a drinking den (mangwe) in the county.
The governor said his administration had contracted a garment-making company in Mtwapa to produce face masks that would be distributed free of charge to locals, starting with bodaboda operators and traders in markets.
He however told the residents that it would be upon them to use the masks, warning that those who would be found in public places without masks would be arrested, quarantined at their own cost and then charged in court.
“Recently I loaded my vehicle with face masks and distributed them to bodaboda operators as I travelled from Kilifi Town to Mtwapa. On my way back, I did not find any of the operators wearing them,” he said.
By Emmanuel Masha