Court directs family to relocate graves for a road’s construction

Nduku Mausu points to her husband Mausu Ngulu’s grave at her Kyanika village, Kitui County.
A family in Kitui is in shock after a court directed it to exhume and relocate six bodies buried in its homestead to pave way for tarmacking of the Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Kabati-Migwani road.

Mutomo Senior Principal Magistrate ZJ Nyakundi issued orders to an 89-year-old widow in the family to relocate the six bodies from the Nzambani/Kyanika/513 parcel in Kyanika location in Chuluni, Kitui East Constituency.

In the orders dated May 15, 2019, Mr Nyakundi directed Nduku Mausu to relocate the six bodies, one of which is her husband Mausu Ngulu's. He died in 1988. Other graves belong to the woman’s children, nieces and nephews.

The court further ordered the Officer Commanding Chuluni Police Station and the Nzambani sub-county public health officer to supervise the exhumation scheduled to be done tomorrow.

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When The Standard visited the home yesterday, we found the widow sitting outside her house with her eldest daughter Ruth Mausu and other family members. They said they were confused following the court order.

Nduku said when she received the orders, she felt the world had come to an end, imagining how devastating it would be to disturb the peace of the dead.

She said exhuming the bodies would rekindle the sad memories of the time she lost her husband some 31 years ago.

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She said the most disturbing aspect was that court did not address the issue of compensation. It also failed to compel the company constructing the 172km road to help with the relocation of the graves.

“They (contractor) have approached us with their African workmates and told us if we don’t exhume the bodies within the specified time, they will bring their excavators and remove the human skeletons and dump them in the bush. Then I ask myself, do these people value the dead?” posed Nduku, amid sobs.

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She said the upgrading of the dilapidated road, which is expected to bring joy and relief to Kitui and Makueni residents, would turn their lives into a nightmare. The widow said as a staunch Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC) faithful, she would leave everything to her God.

Nduku said she would not engage in cultural and traditional ceremonies to appease the dead.

The firm's senior managers could not be reached for comment.

Kitui County Commissioner Jackson ole Chuta last week led a team of Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) officials and security team in an inspection tour of the road to familiarise themselves with the emerging issues.

Mr Chuta said the affected families had opposed the passage of the road through their land, especially where their relatives were buried.

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“The Government will assist the affected families in having their departed relatives buried elsewhere, away from the road reserve,” Chuta said.

At least 38 bodies, including Nduku’s family members', will be exhumed between Chuluni market and Kitui town to pave way for the construction.

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KituiKibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Kabati-Migwani roadSix bodies