Crooks must not profit from land for the dead
Nairobi is facing a crisis. There is no space to bury the dead.
At Lang’ata Cemetery graves are being reopened with new bodies buried on top of the old ones.
According to the County Executive member in charge of health Dr Timothy King’ondu, most graves are today holding as many as three bodies.
Dr King’ondu has threatened to close the cemetery if land to set up a new one is not found by August.
The problem might be as much about government red tape as the lack of land to set up a new cemetery.
President Kenyatta directed Lands and Housing Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu last July to ensure that land is found for a new burial ground — but to date his directive has not been obeyed.
That is in spite of the Cabinet Secretary’s office being furnished with the specifications of the ideal size and type of land required.
“We have continued to forward to the Ministry of Lands names of vendors who want to sell land for the cemetery.
“We continue to engage even the city’s planning department and so far with no success,” wrote Dr King’ondu to the Clerk of the Assembly, Jacob Ngwele.
It is difficult to explain the ministry’s inaction, given that the county government has identified two pieces of suitable land —one near Lenana School and the other a 55-acre plot adjoining to the current cemetery.
It is our hope that this time round, no fishy deals will be employed in acquiring new land, as happened with the Mavoko cemetery land scandal six years ago.
Then, well connected fraudsters colluded with unscrupulous City Hall officials to sell unsuitable land to the defunct Council at a highly exaggerated price.
The county government must ensure that crooks do not take advantage of the crisis to make a quick and easy fortune.
Every care must be taken to ensure that the right piece of land is acquired at the right price — and urgently so.