Dont Cry in CBD!! Mourners in Kismu County Warned

Mourners in Kisumu County will no longer be allowed into the central business district (CBD) if a policy developed by the county government is finally adopted. This was one of the recommendations contained in a report on promotion of domestic and eco-tourism presented by the county assembly's committee on tourism, wildlife and heritage.

The committee said a policy needs to be developed that will set aside specific routes that mourners can use when ferrying the dead without disrupting business in the CBD. Committee chairman Jacktone Onunga said on several occasions, Kisumu City has turned chaotic due to funeral processions that are sometimes infiltrated by hooligans posing as mourners. He said residents working in the CBD usually brace themselves for disruptions every Thursday and Friday when the city streets are full of mourners making loud noises using whistles and vuvuzelas.

Mr Onunga said the crowds usually go round the city on motorcycles at breakneck speed, swerving from one side of the road to the other with some riders screaming at the top of their voices and others hanging precariously from the bikes. The chairman said this havoc has had a negative impact on the county’s economic activities and even scared away both local and international tourists.

 “Mourners and boda boda riders must be kept from accessing the CBD to protect our image,” Onunga said, adding that these activities also cause frequent traffic snarl-ups within the city. Supporting this push, the assembly’s chief whip Isaiah Onyango said tourists could only come to the town if there was peace. Onyango said the confusion caused by mourners was scaring away tourists and investors. He proposed a designated place where bodies can be viewed before they are taken to their various burial destinations.

“Mourners can go to Ofafa Memorial Hall to view the bodies instead of roaming the CBD and creating an unpleasant environment for the business community within town,” he said.

Reports also show that mourning has been turned into a business activity in Kisumu - some people are hired to mourn and are paid Sh300. The town's business community welcomed the move, saying it was long overdue. Kisumu Business Coalition chairperson Israel Agina agreed that mourners had been interfering with the smooth running of business due to their rowdy behaviour. Tourist attraction Mr Agina said as much as mourners have a right to grieve their departed, they should not infringe on other people’s rights. "It is a good idea but let it be done in consultation with members of the public. If there is a way to control it, this could even serve as a tourist attraction that draws visitors to witness the uniquely African way of mourning," he said.

Souce Standard Media.