Mung'aro rescinds decision to move Shakahola bodies

Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro has rescinded his threat to move the bodies of Shakahola victims from Malindi Sub County Hospital mortuary to Nairobi.

Mung'aro had protested that the bodies had overstayed at the county facility.

On Sunday, Mung'aro made an impromptu visit to the mortuary where he inspected the containers holding the bodies.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations Department (DCI) personnel handling the Shakahola matter were not notified about the visit.

DCI officers manning the morgue allowed the county chief into the mortuary but quickly alerted DCI’s Director of Homicide, Martin Nyuguto, who rushed there and held a meeting with the governor before they inspected the containers holding the bodies.

Mung'aro was accompanied by Kilifi County Assembly Majority Leader Ibrahim Athman and journalists from international media.

Addressing journalists at the mortuary, Mung’aro said the containers were not using electricity paid for by the county government as alleged but relied on gas.

On Thursday last week, the governor during a function in Magarini gave the national government up to Monday to remove the bodies, failure to which his officers would tow the containers to Nairobi.

Mung’aro complained that the county government was incurring huge electricity expenses due to power connected to the containers.

He also complained that the bodies were emitting a foul smell to the wards he had recently renovated and equipped.

But after touring the facility on Sunday, Mung'aro said the bodies were not emitting any foul smell.

He explained that he had confirmed the smell around the mortuary was from bodies being preserved in the main county facility.

He said the Sh36 million electricity bill that was incurred before the containers were connected to gas was being handled by the Ministry of Interior.

“Now, I know that they discontinued the electricity after embalming the bodies,” he said.

The governor urged the national government to fast-track the matching of DNA and subsequent release of bodies to relatives.

He urged families who lost their loved ones to come forward and give DNA samples.

“We urge all people who know that their kin had gone to Shakahola to come forward and provide DNA samples without fear of stigmatization since they are not the ones who told them to go and die,” he said.

Mung'aru said uncollected bodies will be buried in a mass grave.