When news broke that the family of the late second liberation icon Kenneth Matiba had decided to cremate his body to fulfil his will, many people were taken aback.
They feel cremation is not only against their customs, but also ungodly.
But now City Hall has come out to ask the city residents to cremate the dead.
This, it argues, will ease pressure on the already filled up Langata Cemetery.
In fact, the county government has reduced cremation fees and hiked costs of buying both temporary and permanent graves.
“It [cremation] is economical, fast and hygienic. It is costs only Sh13,000. The land is scarce and is getting more expensive every day,” Health executive Hitan Majevda said.
Read: Cops warn of slow traffic flow as Matiba’s cortege leaves Nairobi for Murang’a
Many city residents prefer to bury their loved ones in their home villages upcountry, but the high cost of transport and other funeral expenses are simply out of reach for many.
“Whether final disposition is by burial or cremation, the Christian church should offer a funeral liturgy in which the reality of death is not camouflaged and the resurrection of the body is affirmed,” Majevda said.
He added, “We solemnize the departure of our loved ones by reminding ourselves that we brought nothing into this world and that we can carry nothing out. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
Last Friday, Matiba’s body was cremated at Langata crematorium to join a growing list of prominent Kenya’s, such as Wangari Maathai, who have opted to go the cremation way.
National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary – Canon Peter Karanja termed the debate on cremation as an emotive subject that should only be left individuals and families to decide.
“This is a largely a family affair because according to some, it is very obnoxious but to others it is welcome. So this is a matter even the government or religion cannot take positions on,” he said.
Currently, the county government charges 13,000 for cremating adults, Sh6,000 for children and Sh4,000 for infants.
It charges Sh30,500 for the burial of adults Nairobians on a permanent grave in Langata cemetery. Permanent graves for non-citizens cost Sh50,000 for adults, Sh35,000 for children and Sh27,500 for infants
Burying children who die in Nairobi incurs a fee of Sh22,500 and infants Sh15,500, while the fee for children from other counties is Sh28,500 and infants Sh21,500.
For temporary grave, one is required to part with Sh7,000 for an adult, Sh4,000 for a child and Sh2,000 for an infant.
Lang’ata Cemetery first opened in 1958 and was meant to accommodate 50,000 bodies.
It was declared full more than 20 years ago but still continues to accommodate more bodies, with areas that were not meant to be tombs in the cemetery now being used.
Graves are no longer dug to the recommended depth of six feet. Bodies are buried in layers of three or more per grave to accommodate more bodies.
Also read: Cops warn of slow traffic flow as Matiba’s cortege leaves Nairobi for Murang’a
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