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Difference between presidential coffins and ordinary ones

Tuesday February 11 2020

KDF take Moi's body to Parliament

Officers of the Kenya Defence Forces accompany former President Daniel arap Moi's body to Parliament buildings on February 8, 2020 for three days of public viewing. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SARAH NANJALA
By SARAH NANJALA
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On the morning of former President Daniel arap Moi’s State funeral service, a gun carriage with the casket bearing his body left State House for Nyayo Stadium.

The carriage was chauffeured by army officers and an escort of seven military police outriders as it moved from the Lee Funeral Home to State House and onwards to Nyayo Stadium for the funeral service.

The casket, befitting a retired head of state, was draped in the Kenyan flag bearing a miniature national flag and Moi’s presidential standard flag.

The casket was dark maroon in colour and had a dome-shaped cover — a preference for high-end executives.

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Casket dealers on Tuesday told the Nation that the retired President would most likely be buried in a casket made of high quality material such as mahogany wood.

Just a short distance from the Lee Funeral Home, near Kenyatta Market, is Premium Casket Dealers who sell presidential coffins.

Sales marketer Pamela Musira said that their presidential coffins are made of mahogany and cost Sh700,000.

“We usually import our presidential caskets from the United States. They are high quality because they are made from mahogany, which is a hardwood and takes long to decay. It could take up to a year before it starts breaking down,” she said. The caskets in their showroom look quite appealing to the eye with their satin red-brown elegant finish and velvet interior lining. A casket made from mahogany weighs around 150 kilos with an exterior dimension of 28 inches wide, 81 inches long and 23-and-a-half inches high.

“The presidential casket is different from normal caskets. The finishing is detailed and the interior material is velvet and not satin as with ordinary caskets. Other executive coffins are made from steel casing,” Ms Musira said.

Despite the high cost, Ms Musira said that a number of people buy the caskets at the Lee Funeral Home.

“We usually have clients from Lee Funeral,” she said, adding that former President Moi’s coffin was not bought from their showroom.

Mahogany and steel coffins are popular with prominent people. Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who died last year, was buried in a steel-lined coffin. The Lee Funeral Home, where Moi’s body has been preserved since his death on Tuesday last week, also offers elegant caskets ranging from those known as the Emperor Coffin to the Presidential Coffin, the Oxford Coffin and the Senator Coffin.

The Emperor Coffin is made from mahogany with a dome top. It also features a pearl velvet interior and a high gloss custom finish.

The Presidential Coffin, which is also made from mahogany, comes with a deep brown tone and gloss that includes detailed surface sculpting and a white velvet interior.

Additional features of the Presidential Coffin that set it apart from the Emperor Coffin include an adjustable bed and urn-styled corners.