Details have also emerged of single women who scrutinize newspaper obituary pages in search of rich men whose wives passed on

We lie a lot at funerals. Some eulogies are so outrageously fake that mourners giggle under their breath in embarrassment.

At one such funeral in Kisii, a widow yapped about how her dead husband was loving, caring and a peaceful man, yet some of the mourners from neighbouring homes knew her husband always clobbered her, especially when drunk.

Details have also emerged of single women who scrutinize newspaper obituary pages in search of rich men whose wives passed on.

You can see them with a notebook and a biro, filling in details of who has died and where, where funeral meetings are being held, what kind of family the dead comes from, which mortuary is involved and the burial date.

The vultures exploit this gold mine by showing up at the widower's house and passing themselves off as a close friend of the late wife. They befriend his relatives and endear themselves to the widower, putting their 'wife material qualities' on display; cook, clean and tenderly kiss the children.

The relatives get so impressed that they recommend the woman as a potential wife, even before the real wife is buried.

But the extent to which Kenyans fete the dead can be outrageous. Some people will neglect barefooted parents in the village for decades. But when the old folks die, they come home and bury them in expensive coffins, designer suits and shoes.

In one bizarre incident, a political activist kept his father's remains in the morgue for over a month. He needed time to construct a new house for his father, one for himself and a series of permanent houses for his permanently inebriated brothers.

He didn't want to be embarrassed before his friends, he needed to look cool.

Others have to get high at funerals; they can't attend burials while sober. But nothing beats the antics of professional mourners. In some of the public hospitals, especially in parts of Nyanza, the mourners hang around like vultures, waiting to feast on the wings of death.

In order to survive, the 'mourners for hire' aggressively approach the bereaved and ask them if they need someone to wail, mow like a cow, meow like a cat, or bark like a dog. Professional fees range from Sh20 to Sh500.

It might, however, shock you that most popular spot at the funeral party is the gossip corner where mourners discuss the bereaved family: Who got married to an alcoholic, which daughter is divorced, which daughter cannot give birth, which son has only daughters, which child is a drunkard, who has HIV, who dropped out of school, who is too proud to speak mother tongue — the list is endless.

And all this time, if the departed is a man, his closest male cousins and friends silently eye his widow, wondering at what point they will exploit her loneliness and lecherously crawl into her bed.