BY MATHEWS NDANYI
The government has failed to exhume the bodies of people who died of hunger in Turkana after their community rejected the plan. Three pathologists had been sent to exhume three bodies at Kalapata village in Turkana South in a bid to ascertain the cause of the death but villagers turned them away saying the exhumation of bodies was against their traditions.
Turkana South DC Joseph Kanyiri declined to comment on the matter but said the pathologists had been sent from Nairobi. A chief in the area has been interdicted for revealing the deaths. MPs have demanded that Internal Security minister George Saitoti should explain why the chief was fired and the cause of death of the victims. “I can not comment on the issue as at this moment until we have other details,” said Kanyiri.
The government has denied that the victims died of famine causing an outcry from residents of the area and Kenyans in general. Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said the government had no records on people who died of famine. The chief received a letter interdicting and directing him to explain why he communicated the famine issue through the media. NGO Council chairman Ken Wafula said the government was acting wrongly against the chief because he was a mere messenger representing his people. “The most important thing is for the government to deal with the famine and not engage in sideshows,” said Wafula. The victims were old and locals insist it would be difficult to confirm that they died of famine. Villagers said the victims had starved to death because they could not move to look for food due to old age.
Currently more than 250,000 people are relying on relief food in Turkana county and many of them are now receiving increased food rations thanks to the Kenyans for Kenya initiative which has raised more than Sh600 million within the last one month. The famine has affected more than 3.5 million Kenyans, most of them in arid counties.