'Spirits will hunt us': Villagers oppose plan to construct morgue in Khwisero

Friday November 22 2019

A section of residents of Emahanga, Mushangubu sub-location who are opposed to building a morgue in their village. PHOTO | COURTESY


Plans by a developer to construct a morgue in a village in Khwisero Sub-County, Kakamega County has sparked off protests from the community.

Residents of Emahanga village in Mushangubu sub-location are opposed to the project, arguing the construction of a morgue in their midst would offend their traditions.

They have opposed plans by the developer to construct the mortuary on the land at a public baraza convened by the Mushangubu assistant chief Augustine Aluteyo on Thursday.

In a petition to the Kakamega County government, the residents want the project halted.

A notice pinned on an electric poll in the village said: “The registered owner of plot no Kisa/Mushiangubu/844 located in Mushiangubu area off Ekero-Buyangu road in Khwisero Sub-County, Kakamega County proposes to change use from agricultural use to public purpose use (funeral home) subject to approval by the county government of Kakamega.

“Individuals, Institutions with objections should forward them in writing within 14 days of this notice to Director Physical Planning office, County Government of Kakamega.”



Locals said having a morgue in the village signalled a bad omen and could lead to trigger misfortunes among villagers.

Residents said they feared spirits of the dead, who will be kept at the mortuary, could haunt them.

“It is unacceptable to have a mortuary next to our homes. This is unheard of,” said Mr Aseka Esatia, a professional from the community.

Mr Esatia is leading a campaign by villagers to stop the developer from carrying on with the construction of the mortuary.

He said the developer had initially indicated he planned to put up a hospital, an idea the community welcomed.

“But it is shocking that he wants to construct a mortuary in our midst. Such a project will impact negatively on the value of land in our village, where we fish farming is the main economic activity,” said Mr Satia.

They have further expressed environmental concerns about the project saying the site of planned morgue is barely 10 metres from the Lichemo village stream and the Yala river.

Mr Esatia said construction of the mortuary facility would affect the value of land in the   village since construction of the Khwisero vocational training centre would trigger demand for accommodation faculties for teachers and students.

“But if morgue is built in the village, it will be unattractive for developers to come up with projects which are beneficial to the community,” said Mr Esatia.