Kisumu County government is not happy with the way professional mourners have been doing their job lately as they have been a little over the bar. That the professional mourners who normally charge between Sh500 and Sh2,000 a day depending on the distance and the financial muscle of the deceased’s family are scaring investors and causing tension within the CBD.
To tame the so-called professional mourners who have been booming in the region, the county government decided to throw in some laws to get a grip in the wailing. In a new law, professional mourners found wailing in certain areas will be instantly slapped with a Ksh2,000. The designated areas that have been marked by the county officials include hospitals, schools and the town’s CBD. As for the families hiring these mourners, they are equally liable to punishment.
City director of environment Bernard Ojwang said enforcement officers will detain hearses ferrying bodies within the town and the deceased’s family will be fined Sh20,000 instantly. He confirmed the enforcement is in line with a law that was passed by Kisumu County Assembly in 2014, after a motion that was moved by former MCA and Tourism committee chair Jacktone Onunga.
“Many people, especially the businessmen, are complaining that the mourners are rowdy and some take advantage and steal from the shops as they go around the town. Mourn in town at your own risk because our officers are alert and will arrest and charge those disturbing others in the name of mourning,” said Ojwang yesterday.
As if that is not enough, folks in Kisumu have been complaining about loud music being played by bereaved families to solicit for funds from the public. But NEMA will not tolerate that.
“It has become a norm that everywhere you go people play music to collect funds for their loved one. Anyone who does so without a licence will be arrested and charged,” NEMA county director John Sande gave a stern warning.
Enforcement of this law has been backed by religious leaders who were fed up with seeing the professional mourners for hire abuse the culture of mourning.