Death and funeral rituals in Africa are deeply rooted in the cultural beliefs, as many believe that life does not end with death but continues in another realm of the spirit world.
This is probably why Africans accord the dead full respect and spend huge amounts of money and time while preparing for their final burial rituals.
But Narok residents are crying foul as the cemetery located meters from Narok town has been abandoned and completely full with totally no space to dig a fresh grave.
When the Kenya News Agency visited the site, one could hardly see the graveyard from another corner because it was covered with a deep bush.
In the deep bush, we met Martin Kiio (not his real name as he sought for anonymity) digging a grave for a deceased person supposed to be buried the following day.
Kiio tells us that though he does the job to earn a living, it is very challenging because he frequently unearths remains of people who had previously been buried.
“Though I do this job to keep my family, I feel so demoralised when I dig a grave and sometime find fresh bodies of people who were buried without coffins, clothes, bones and coffins,” he says adding that the experience makes him to dig less than three-feet down as opposed to the standard six-feet hole.
The grave digger called on the county government to clear the bush and look for an alternative land to bury people saying the cemetery was slowly turning out to be a hideout for criminals.
He says the place is not protected such that immediately a body is buried, people remove the cross attached to the grave to use as firewood.
“It is never a wonder to meet with a woman searching for crosses that they use as firewood. This is because the area is so bushy and one can easily hide among the scrubs,” he added.
Kiio describes the cemetery as his office since that is the place he earns his living from as not many people are willing to do such jobs.
When asked if his family is comfortable with his job, Kiio says his young wife and children are content with the kind of job he does because it enable him put food on the table.
“Though it was challenging at first, my family got used to it because it gives me good money to give them a decent life. I however call on the county government to allocate better land to bury the dead,” he said.
Daniel Kenga, a Nyumba Kumi chairman in Narok town laments how dishearting it is to see the dead being unearthed so as to bury another in the same grave.
He said the thick bush poses a lot of danger to Narok town residents as criminals can comfortably hide there after performing criminal acts.
In some instances, he says that criminals can kill and bury the victim in the cemetery and no one can discover because the place is too bushy and access uncontrolled.
He therefore called on the county government to quicken the process of looking for an alternative land to bury their beloved saying in the African culture, the dead too deserve to be respected.
“It is painful to find your beloved ones whom you had already buried uncovered and clothes lying outside the grave because another person has already been buried there,” said Kenga.
Pastor Johanah Kiriama of African Gospel Church (AGC) in Narok confirmed how the spiritual leaders undergo difficult times when burying the faithful at the gravesite.
He says because of the shallowness of the graves, they are sometimes forced to keep holding the coffins as they dig deeper just to be sure the hole fits their beloved ones.
Pastor Kiriama calls on the county government to resolve the issue urgently as every person deserves to be buried in a decent manner regardless of the background.
“We the people of Narok deserve better treatment than what we have seen in this place, we call upon the county government to consider buying a spacious ground to allocate as a cemetery,” observes the spiritual leader.
He confesses that it is challenging to bury people at the graveyard because of insecurity as the place is bushy and dark.
Another Narok resident Moffat Muthee decries that the environs around the cemetery is so disgusting as one can easily find human bones and clothes lying everywhere on the grave site.
Muthee reiterates that the place poses danger to the residents as criminals can easily hide in the bushy place as they terrorize innocent people.
“We also deserve good services from the county government. Why should they abandon us yet we pay rates as required,” he wonders.
Narok county government had prioritized the purchase of land to put up a modern cemetery in the 2018-2022 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) but that is yet to happen as the said land has not yet been purchased.
Efforts by KNA to get comment from the CEC Finance Julius Sasai proved fruitless after calls to his cellphone went unanswered.