Vihiga, Kenya: Mourners in Vihiga County Thursday marched with empty coffins to Governor Moses Akaranga's office to demand the re-opening of the mortuary occasioned by striking health officers.
Services were stalled in Mbale town for the better part of Thursday after the mourners, who had been kept at the Vihiga Hospital's mortuary, decided to march to the governor's office to seek redress.
Health workers in the county went on strike Wednesday demanding to be paid their salaries. The governor allegedly dared them to quit if they cannot work in a crisis laden hospital.
Thursdays is an official day in the county for residents to pick bodies for burials over the weekend.
Speaking to journalists, mourners who had camped at the mortuary for over four hours waiting for the health workers to solve their issues and open the doors for them, expressed their displeasure with the treatment they got.
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"We have come to take our beloved ones so that we can go and pay them last respect that they deserve. Some of us have come from as far as Kakamega County to collect the bodies early in the morning but now we have been delayed," said Rev Wycliffe Shisaswa.
The angry mourners attempted to break the mortuary doors but were restrained by security officers, who were keeping vigil.
The mourners then decided to take the empty coffins and march with them to the governor's office to register their displeasure.
It forced the county askaris and administration police to use force in dispersing the mourners, who were chanting 'haki yetu' and demanding to talk to the governor.
After hours of the scuffle, the mortuary was finally opened at noon and the mourners allowed to pick the bodies.
The governor, who was locked in a cabinet meeting, sent his emissaries to address the issue.