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BODY PARTS SAGA IN KENYAN SOIL.

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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A sick man dies at his hospital bed in Kenyatta National Teaching and Referral Hospital on Friday and the body is wheeled to the mortuary. His grieving family and relatives, stunned and numbed by the loss, plan for the interment of his remains. It is a tedious and expensive exercise, and in line with Kenyan tradition, the final rites are a communal affair involving the church, his employer, colleagues or business associates, and the extended family. But unknown to his family and to the country, once in the morgue, something else, so shocking to the living and desecrating to the dead, is about to take place. According to the police who have been trying to keep chase, the sad tale goes there is a ready market across the border for male genitalia. All the underpaid mortuary attendant needs to do is severe off the organ in the privacy of the morgue where few hardly venture, conceal it in a bag or paper wrapping, and then walk to the pre-arranged meeting point where the ‘transaction’ takes place. For the particular mortuary attendant who walked right into the police snare, with the organ he had just sliced off and wrapped in a green polythene bag, he claims it was his first time to be approached to make the delivery. Waiting for him outside an Automated Teller Machine, was the ‘buyer’, who being a driver of funeral home may have little inhibition over dead bodies having ferried many to their final resting place. To meet his part of the bargain in the weird cash-on-delivery deal, he is carrying the agreed Sh50,000 for one organ. After the arrest of the 36-year-old mortuary attendant, the police walk up to the mortuary and after the morbid process of examining bodies for tampering and harvesting of organs, they stumble on the body of the man who died on Friday. Staring at them is the evidence of that which was taken away from him in death. May be it is an abomination to the ordinary Kenyan, but not so to the ‘dealers’.

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