Ken Ouko memorial service to be held today ahead of Friday burial
A private funeral service for the late University of Nairobi lecturer Ken Ouko will be held today (Wednesday) at Nairobi Central SDA Church ahead of his burial on Friday.
The lecturer will be laid to rest at his rural home in Kamuma, Nyandiwa Village in Homa Bay County, according to plans by the funeral committee.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, only 60 invited guests will physically attend today’s memorial service, which will be held at 2pm. It will be presided over by Pastor Jack Ogeda.
“The Church will avail a YouTube and Facebook links to enable those who will be locked out to watch and follow proceedings virtually,” said a statement from the funeral planning team.
Dr Ouko’s body will leave Nairobi’s Aga Khan University Hospital mortuary tomorrow (Thursday) 6, 2020, at 10am for the journey home.
This will be preceded by a short prayer service at the Aga Khan University Hospital Chapel.
Plans for his burial at his home in Homa Bay county are in top gear and his grave had already been dug by Sunday.
Making final touches
Workers were on Monday making final touches on his final resting place with his grave already cemented.
His elder brother Boaz Olela said the family was not taking chances should they be ambushed and had the grave dug by Sunday morning, in keeping with Covid-19 guidelines on burials.
“We were just trying to avoid being ambushed by health officials who we thought would come with the body for burial any time,” he said.
“We have seen instances where families are being asked to bury their loved ones when they were not ready. We did not want to have such an experience,” Mr Olela added.
The Ministry of Health requires bodies of Covid-19 victims buried within 48 hours after death.
Within Dr Oukos father’s home, construction workers were also putting up structures that would be used to isolate the immediate family members of the lecturer (widow and children).
Mr Olela said this was meant to ensure chances of transmission of the virus is minimised.
“His family are some of the people he came into contact with when he was sick. As a precautionary measure of preventing Covid-19 transition, the family will have to be isolated during the burial ceremony,” he said.
They will not be allowed to mingle with other guests attending the burial ceremony.
The family has asked public health officers from Homa Bay for guidance on the number of mourners who will attend the burial on Friday.
The renowned sociologist succumbed to Covid-19 complications on Saturday morning, a few days after being admitted at Aga Khan Hospital.
The announcement of his death shocked his family, friends, colleagues and Kenyans from all walks of life who termed him as articulate, brilliant and humorous.
University of Nairobi Communications director John Orindi said Dr Ouko’s passing was a big setback to sociology department where he played a critical role.
Dr Ouko was a renowned lecturer and sociologist who specialised in the areas of deviance and family, gerontology and medical sociology.
His elder brother said the family was ready to accord Dr Ouko a decent send-off in accordance with Luo traditions.
Dangerous times we were living in
“There is nothing much to prepare about because of the dangerous times we are living in. We had dug a grave by Sunday morning that would be used to bury the body any time it arrives home,” he said.
He said the exercise would be conducted by health offices from Homa Bay county who will be dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) because the lecturer died of Covid-19.
“We have already informed the county government Covid-19 emergency response team that my brother is a victim of Covid-19. They will take charge of the whole process to ensure there is safety within the home,” Mr Olela said.
Other burial plans will be communicated later by a committee from Nairobi where the deceased lived.
Dr Ouko died aged 56. His death brought to five the number of UoN lecturers who have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic struck the country in March.