The family of former Cabinet minister Joe Nyagah intends to fulfill his burial wishes, including that of not allowing anyone to view his body.
Joe Nyagah will be buried today at Kamutungi village in Mbeere South Sub-county, Embu.
As political as it may sound to some quarters, the family maintained they would respect their kin’s wish that new clothing should not be bought for his burial. Instead, he will be buried in clothes he has won before.
Joe Nyagah’s younger brother Norman Nyagah, and widow Esther, revealed that Joe, who died aged 72, will be buried next to his grandfather’s grave facing the hills of Mbeere as per his wishes.
Speaking at the family home in Mbeere South, Norman said the family had agreed that the ACK Nairobi Bishop Rev Joel Waweru would lead the funeral service assisted by Embu Diocese clergy.
He observed that Joe was a neat man who “used to iron his own clothes” and since he was no more, his eldest son would carry out the task.
“We cannot send him off in a wrinkled shirt. Never,” Norman said. “His son Jeremiah John Mwaniki Nyagah will take care of the ironing.”
Joe Nyagah succumbed to Covid-19 related complications. His family says he suffered severe lung damage and was put on a ventilator. “We thank God Joe died after a fourth cardiac arrest that lasted 11 minutes; doctors resuscitated him in the previous three.
I closed his eyes, closed his mouth too, as he rested. I ensured he died a handsome Joe Nyagah as he would always joke that he was more handsome than me,” the former Kamukunji and earlier Gachoka MP added.
He said Joe Nyagah was admitted to Nairobi Hospital between November 17 and December 11, when he died, adding that saving his brother’s life was difficult because, by the time he sought medical care, the virus had caused much damage.
“He was unwell at home for a week, moved to hospital and he was admitted to the ICU for two weeks. He then tested negative a number of times. He succumbed when we thought he would be well,” added Norman.
At the family grave-site lies the remains of their father Jeremiah Nyagah, a veteran politician in the Kenyatta and Moi governments, and his wife, Joe’s grandfather and his other brother, Zachariah.
The family said having lost a kin to Covid-19, they will be strict during the burial, saying anyone not adhering to Heath ministry protocols in regards to containing the virus spread would be ejected.
They plan to restrict attendance to 1,000 people.
On political utterances during Joe Nyagah’s burial, Norman said he would not shut people’s mouth as his late brother had not asked him to restrict any political statements during his send-off.