WE MUST HONOR THE DEAD, Siaya Senator James Orengo’s Statement

The hurried burial of James Oyugi Onyango in Siaya in the wee hours of the morning two days ago has caused commotion on and outside social media as many Kenyans call on the Government to adhere to the World Health Organization’s protocol for buring patients that have died of Covid-19.

Kenya has 8 fatalities, most of whom were buried decently with not lore than 15 close family members attending, Oyugi’s burial in Siaya was hurried and despicable. It raised suspicion on why his should be unique.

At around 2 am in the morning, a pick up reverses into the home of the deceased, women can be heard wailing in the still dark compound. The body of one Jame Oyugi Onyango, inside a body bag, is lowered from the pick up and thrown into a shallow grave. No rites, no prayers, nothing. Mafia style.

Kenyans from all walks of life condemned the manner in which he was buried. The Governor Cornel Rasanga has called for Investigations into the burial.

Below is a statement by the Senator of Siaya.

The late James Oyugi Onyango


Human dignity does not end with death. In all cultures across the world the burial of the dead is a solemn event accompanied with elaborate rituals. We respect the dead and that is why we have graves, tombs, crypts, mausoleums and pyramids. Veneration of the dead is based on love, respect and dignity for the deceased. Even the dead in major wars and civil strife have their remains interred in cemeteries.

James Oyugi’s burial in Similar Village, Ukwala Location, Ugenya Siaya County has created justifiably a national outrage. The crude and macabre burial in the dead of the night with little concern for the grieving family and the community has no place in a caring and decent society.

We want everybody to stay healthy and safe but not to the extent of flouting or ignoring protocols laid out by the government respecting the dignity of the dead, their cultural and religious traditions and customs and the need to offer comfort and solace to grieving families.

If James Oyugi Onyango’s death was caused by COVID-19 the conduct of the burial caused more harm than good and may have endangered other lives. COVID-19 pandemic is better fought without stigma. The coronavirus has invaded the corridors of power and royalty. Even the heights of the aristocracy and the celebrity world have not been spared by this invisible enemy and contagion.

I will therefore seek a statement tomorrow in the Senate from the Cabinet Secretary requiring him to explain the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the burial of James Oyugi Onyango and the role of both the national and county governments in the awful, gruesome and despicable burial of James Oyugi Onyango in the dead of night.

I am also instructing Nelson Havi Company advocates to take up the matter for any necessary legal action.

James Orengo,
Siaya Senator

Video of burial that has been condemned