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Sakaja revamping City Mortuary to restore dignity to the departed

Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja on Wednesday said that the county had started revamping the City Mortuary and public cemeteries.

In a statement through social media, the governor said that their works had already begun, saying that it was time “restoring dignity to the departed”.

“Installation of new cooling units, cold room doors and drainage works (complete),” Sakaja said.
He added that the contractor was on site.

Also read: Body of missing human rights defender Caroline Mwatha found at city mortuary

In January, the city boss launched measures to revamp Lang’ata cemetery while alluding that he had deployed a team to clean the graveyard to give it a facelift and ensure that the dead have a beautiful resting place.

“I issued a directive to the environment team to clear and make the cemetery tidy. We must ensure that we provide dignity to all including the departed,” he said then.

“The environment sector then mobilized its workforce to assist the public health sector in undertaking the stated assignment (clearing overgrown grasses, bushes, slashing, litter picking, etc).”

Also read: No cash to buy coolers for the City Mortuary

Since then, the team has cleaned overgrown bushes, mowed, levelled uneven patches, and cleaned the surrounding.

At the City Mortuary, the renovations have centred on the improvement of infrastructure, paintwork, enhancing cleanliness, and having enough water flowing in the facility. Plans are also afoot to renovate freezers at the morgue which have been known for breaking down time and again.

City Mortuary stands out as the oldest morgue in Nairobi that, in its heydays, used to be the go-to facility in the capital city and its environs.

The 65-year-old mortuary, on the junction of Ngong’ Road and Mbagathi Way, has enjoyed decades of dominance as one of the biggest city-based facilities in East Africa, serving a population of more than five million people.

Police usually take unclaimed bodies at the mortuary, which are always destined for a mass grave.

Also read: Grave situation: Robert Alai concerned over state of Nairobi city mortuaries

In cases where the police fail to trace the family, the management is allowed by law 21 days before declaring a body unclaimed. Then, a court order is sought allowing for the deceased’s burial at Lang’ata cemetery.

Sitting on a 120-acre piece of land along the busy Lang’ata Road, the Lang’ata Cemetery is home to thousands of people who have died in Kenya since independence and it has two slots, the permanent graves and temporary ones.

The permanent grave costs Sh30,500, while the temporary one costs Sh7,000.

For the temporary graves, it is all about the ‘bury and go’ meaning that the bodies of the departed will be disposed of after a few months (the grave remains intact for at least three months), whereas the permanent graveyards remain intact.

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