Why Kilifi Governor Has Retracted Threat to Dump Shakahola Bodies in Nairobi

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Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro has made a U-turn on his threat to relocate Shakahola victims’ bodies from Malindi Sub-County Hospital Mortuary to Nairobi due to high preservation costs.

Last week, Mung’aro claimed that preserving the remains had incurred his administration Kes.36 million in electricity bills. He also lamented about a supposed foul odor from the two containers holding the bodies at the Malindi Sub-County Hospital mortuary.

“I have a message to the government, especially Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki. At the Malindi Hospital, I have two containers holding 429 Shakahola bodies but they just took away a few bodies only.Monday if the government will not have removed the bodies, doctors in the hospital should tow the containers and dump them in Kenyatta National Hospital,” Governor Mung’aro said on Friday in Dagamra, Magarini sub-county.

However, the governor had to backtrack after realizing that the bodies exhumed from the Shakahola forest neither strained county finances nor emitted foul odors.

Impromptu visit

The governor’s change of heart followed an impromptu visit to the mortuary on Sunday. He held a brief meeting with DCI Homicide Director Martin Nyuguto before inspecting the containers.

During the visit, Mung’aro established that the containers had transitioned from electricity to gas for body preservation.

In a subsequent interview, the Kilifi county boss noted that the containers were odor-free. Additionally, he observed that any smell present within and around the mortuary originated from bodies at the county’s main facility.

“Now I know that they discontinued the use of electricity after embalming the bodies and the bill incurred before this is being handled by the Ministry of Interior,” he said.

Governor Mung’aro urged the national government to expedite the DNA matching process for the remaining bodies to be released to their relatives. Additionally, he appealed to relatives to step forward and provide DNA samples for matching purposes.

While at least seven bodies have been returned to the families of the victims, over 400 bodies are still at the Malindi Sub-County Hospital mortuary.

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