A banana stem being prayed at the grave after it was buried at Magomano village in Juja.The family of Chege Kamau,90, was forced to bury the banana stem after they were denied from collecting his body from Kenyatta University Mortuary and were instead slapped with a court injunction restraining them from burying him on the identified burial site at his Juja farm.PHOTO BY KAMAU MAICHUHIE
A family in Kiambu has buried a banana stem in place of their kin as efforts to get the body of the 90-year-old flopped.
It all started when family and friends of Chege Kamau, 90, went to collect his body at Kenyatta University Mortuary but were instead slapped with a court injunction restraining them from burying him on his Magomano farm in Juja.
With the new development, elders convened a crisis meeting which resolved that the burial ceremony would go ahead and a banana stem would instead be buried in the place of Mr Chege’s remains.
“The Agikuyu culture clearly stipulates that once a grave is dug, it cannot be filled without burying the deceased. If that happens, his ghosts will start haunting his family for not burying him on the date that had been set for the ceremony,” said Kariuki wa Migwi, an elder.
Mr Kariuki said planting the banana stem with its buds symbolised life, adding that just as the buds will grow and bear fruit, the bereaved family would live and multiply.
He warned that those who defied the wishes and the will of the departed would have themselves to blame when the wrath of his spirits descended on them.
“Those (burying the stem) must have (been) installed as elders according to the Agikuyu traditions and culture,” Kariuki said.
Peter Kamau, Chege’s eldest son, said his three sisters secretly obtained a court order stopping the burial.
The bone of contention was that Chege was living with his younger wife in his Juja home and had expressed his wish to be buried there. This did not auger well with his daughters from the other family who are now fighting to have him buried next to their late mother in Gitwe village, Gatundu South Constituency.