Lang’ata Cemetery Workers Protest Over Unpaid Salaries, Disrupting Burials

Families set to bury their loved ones at the Lang’ata cemetery on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, were forced to wait for long hours after police used teargas to disperse protesting Nairobi County contract workers.

The workers, who had been hired to tidy up the graveyard, complained that they had not received their salaries for five months despite diligently carrying out their duties.

According to the Lang’ata sub-county police commander, Monica Kimani, officers took action to disperse the protesters after they started burning tires near the Lang’ata police station’s entrance.

Kimani said the workers defied advice to take their complaints to the Nairobi County Governor’s office instead of causing unrest in the area.

The workers have vowed to keep the cemetery’s gates closed until they receive their money, urging citizens who seek to bury their loved ones to return home or seek other alternatives.

“Governor Johnson Sakaja has been taking us rounds anytime we request this money,” one worker said on condition of anonymity.

The protest disrupted burials at the cemetery, causing distress to families who had lost their loved ones. It is also a reminder of the plight of many contract workers who are often underpaid and exploited.

The Nairobi County government should take immediate action to address the workers’ grievances and ensure that they are paid their salaries in full. The government should also investigate why the workers’ salaries were delayed in the first place and take steps to prevent this from happening again.

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Dennis Elnino

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