NO MORE BURIALS

Lang'ata Cemetery full, cremate loved ones, says City Hall

The 100-acre Lang'ata Cemetery was declared full 20 years ago

In Summary

• At Lang'ata Cemetery, permanent graves for adults cost Sh30,000, children Sh4,000, and infants Sh2,000. 

• CEC says there were circumstances where the county had been forced to 'recycle' graves to bury the dead. 

Lang'ata Cemetery in Nairobi.
NO SPACE: Lang'ata Cemetery in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

City residents with no rural homes may be forced to cremate their loved ones since Lang'ata Cemetery is full and the county has not acquired land for a new one.

The 100-acre cemetery was declared full 20 years ago.

Health executive Hitan Majevdia on Wednesday admitted that the county does not have land to set up a new cemetery.

 

“There is no space at Lang'ata Cemetery and the county has not yet found an alternative land,” he said.

“We have been advising the public to either bury their loved ones upcountry or use private burial sites, which are owned by organisations.” 

He further recommended cremation, saying it is affordable. “Nowadays cremation has been adopted by people outside the Hindu religion. I would advise people to use that method to avoid incurring additional burial expenses," he said.  City Hall charges Sh16,500 to cremate adults and Sh15,500 for children.

Majevdia further said there were circumstances where the county had been forced to "recycle" graves to bury the dead. He said the law allows the county to dispose of unclaimed bodies that pile up at county morgues.

“In the cemetery, we have unmarked graves, those that do not have tombstones and are not frequently visited by families. There are other graves that have no claimants and are very old,” Majevdia stated.

At Lang'ata Cemetery, permanent graves for adults cost Sh30,000, for children Sh4,000, and for infants Sh2,000.

Those from outside Nairobi are charged Sh40,000. The inadequacy of burial space cuts across both Christian and Muslim religions.

 

In June last year, the Muslim community raised concerns over the difficulties they face while interring the dead.

As a result, Governor Mike Sonko said the county had identified land and the county was to seek permission from the National Land Commission to turn it into a cemetery for Muslims.

Muslims have been using the Kariokor Muslim Cemetery, part of which already has 59 graves of African soldiers who died during World War II.

In December 2008, the cemetery was declared full and was gazetted as a national monument in 2015. But to date, Muslims still utilise it.

Bid to acquire cemetery land

In 2009, City Hall lost millions of shillings after the then City Council of Nairobi paid Sh283 million for 48.5 acres in Mavoko, Machakos county.

The land was valued at Sh24 million. Former Local Government PS Sammy Kirui and former City Council of Nairobi Clerk John Gakuo were jailed for three years for their role in the cemetery land scandal.

In the 2016-17 budget, the county had expressed an interest in acquiring cemetery land in Kajiado, but that turned out to be a costly venture.

In March 2017, the county had planned to petition Parliament to allow it use as a graveyard the 67-acre forest near the filled-up Lang'ata Cemetery.

This was after the Kenya Forest Service rejected its request to swap the filled-up cemetery with the forest.

KFS had said the government allocated the old Nairobi City Council 50 acres in the 1990s to expand the cemetery. It had asked City Hall to account for the land.

However, City Hall carried out investigations and there are no records to show that the national government gave City Hall 50 acres.

Edited by A.N