Family exhumes three bodies to pave way for dam project

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 00:00 |
Family exhumes three bodies to pave way for dam project.

 James Wakahiu

Family, relatives and friends of former long serving Thika Municipal councillor Joseph Mugo Njoroge witnessed an emotional exercise of exhuming and reburying the remains of three members of a family.

The exhumation followed a court order after the family sought to remove the remains of their departed loved ones from their ancestral land, to pave way for construction of the Sh24 billion Kariminu dam.

Remains of the former Kianda Ward councillor who died 12 years ago, his wife Mary Wanjiku’s who passed away five years ago and their eldest child Jecinta Wacuka Mugo who died more than two decades ago were exhumed from their rural home in Kariua, Gatundu North Kiambu County.

Njoroge’s body was later interred at Gitige village in Kanjuku while those of his wife and daughter Wacuka were buried at Kanjeria in Ngorongo in Gatundu North.

Re-burial plans

Family, relatives, friends and villagers waited for hours for the hoe machine provided by the dam contractor to embark on the tedious exercise of exhuming the remains.

Njoroge’s remains were the first to be retrieved followed by those of his wife and finally their daughter’s. The graves were in the same yard.

After the exhumation, the remains were put in waiting coffins and loaded onto a pick up for re-burial. Only a few witnessed the exercise in compliance with the Covid-19 burial guidelines.

A family friend, Susan Kariuki, said she was shocked by the exhumation. 

“I have never seen such a thing. This has taught me that the life of a human being is useless, “ she said. 

Family member, Mary Wanjiku Wacuka said the exercise was very disturbing.

She hoped they would never experience such an occurrence.  “It is very disturbing to exhume the remains of people you buried many years back and re-bury them. I pray that we never experience such a thing again,” said Wanjiku, who is the granddaughter of the late  Njoroge.

Murang’a Finance officer Edwin Kimani thanked the government for compensating all those affected by the dam project. 

The government has re-possessed 600 acres of land from the local community to pave way for the construction of the dam.

During a recent tour of the dam, Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said all the affected families had been fully compensated.

“We have resolved all the issues that had been contentious. We now have the necessary and required land for the construction of the multi-million-shilling dam. We have asked the contractor to ensure that the project is completed as scheduled,” Kariuki  said early last week. 

It has emerged that the agony the Njoroge’s were experiencing had a few hours befallen his younger brother family.

James Muigai Cuma, his wife Rosemary Wanjku, their son-James Muigai and his wife Alice Njambi remains had also been emotionally exhumed and re buried.

Exhumation of Njambi’s body, rekindled fresh emotions as family members collapsed when the back hoe tore into the coffin.  She was buried four months ago.

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