A new memoir by Lt Gen (Rtd) Daniel Opande has unraveled an ongoing practice that has seen Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's body exhumed a number of times since he was buried.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's body was exhumed 3 months after burial - retired army general reveals
I called General Mulinge to confirm the success of our mission - Lt Gen (Rtd) Daniel Opande
The retired army general, in his book, recounts the first time the body was retrieved from the mausoleum, just three months after the founding President was buried.
"We entered the mausoleum and with the help of a handful of soldiers set out to take out the casket. It was quite heavy and tricky to remove but we managed to bring it out successfully. It was immediately transferred to the waiting military ambulance for the journey to City Mortuary," an excerpt from the former army man narrates.
Opande was at the time serving as the Army's head of ceremonial duties and had been assigned by the then Army Commander, General Jackson Mulinge to oversee the extraction of the former President's remains under the guidance of his physician Dr Eric Mwangola.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's body undergoes routine procedures
The general is the first former state official to confirm that Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's body has been carefully preserved since he was buried on August 31, 1978.
"On arrival at the mortuary, we transferred the casket inside. The pathologist, Dr Rao, and his assistants who were on standby quickly opened the casket and carefully removed the body and placed it on a large table draped with a clean white sheet. I watched carefully as they cleaned the remains that appeared very well preserved.
"Within an hour, the body was placed back into the casket for transportation back to the mausoleum. Later that night, my task accomplished, I called Gen Mulinge and informed him of the success of our mission," Opande recounts.
A family source has corroborated Lt Gen (Rtd) Opande's account stating that every time the body is exhumed the family is made aware.
The source estimated that the exercise has been done twice or thrice since the time narrated by Opande.
Other records held by the British government have indicated that Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's burial vault is similar to that of former US President J. F. Kennedy and was specifically flown into the country and stored at Kahawa Barracks ahead of the burial date.
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