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Covid-19: Kenya's first victim buried under supervision

Tuesday April 7 2020

Engineer Maurice Namiinda's burial in Kitale

Some of engineer Maurice Namiinda relatives are pictured during his funeral ceremony in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County on March 7, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY 

GERALD BWISA
By GERALD BWISA
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DENNIS LUBANGA
By DENNIS LUBANGA
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The first Kenyan to succumb to the dreaded Covid-19 disease was buried in Trans Nzoia County on Tuesday in a ceremony that lasted about 35 minutes.

Engineer Maurice Namiinda was buried at his rural home at Naisambu village in Kitale, at a low-key event that only his immediate family members attended.

Police received the body that had been transported from Nairobi at around 4 am and took it to the home.

Their presence was heavy at the ceremony conducted by the Catholic Church and which was completed by noon.

MENTAL ANGUISH

Mr Namiinda died at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi in March.

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His relatives told of the mental anguish they underwent during their mandatory quarantine to confirm whether they had also been infected.

Mr Protus Khisa, one of his brothers, said, "We endured a long period of psychological torture not knowing if our brother would be cremated or buried according to our customs.

"We are relieved that he was given a decent burial like anyone else and that we can see his grave."

A relative who requested anonymity said they were also relieved that they tested negative for the disease.

Mr Namiinda's wife was among the people who were tested for having been in close contact with him from March 20.

SUPERVISION

Trans Nzoia county Commissioner Samson Ojwang said the burial was conducted under the guidance of public health officers. 

"It was brief ... only a few close relatives were allowed [to attend] under the supervision of public health officers, police and government officers," he said.

Mr Namiinda is survived by a wife, five daughters and two sons.

Until his death, he was a managing partner at Gibb Africa.

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