Kenya: Teacher Who Was Set Ablaze By Husband Laid to Rest

19 October 2020

Emmy Chepkoech Mitei, the deputy primary school head teacher who was doused in petrol and set ablaze by her husband, a carpenter, has been laid to rest in Bomet county.

Mourners arrived at her homestead in Kobel village, Konoin constituency to find that the remains had been interred before 10am.

The deceased was attacked by her husband, Mr Robert Tonui, on October 4, this year at her parents' home in Seanin village, Konoin, in what resulted in 97 per cent burns.

She was rushed to Litein AIC hospital before being transferred to Tenwek Hospital where she died three days later.

The burial was conducted two days earlier than planned and in a break with the Kipsigis tradition and customs, the family conducted the burial rites early in the morning. Funerals are usually conducted in the community from 3pm.

Only a few family members and villagers attended the private ceremony which was skipped by all her in-laws.

"We have hurried the burial of my late daughter because there were issues... we heard that there were people out to interfere with the ceremony," the father of the deceased, Mr Billy Mitei, told the mourners.

Mr Mitei revealed that the burial was initially schedules to be held on Wednesday, but had to be held earlier than planned because of what has been unfolding behind the scenes.

The mother of the deceased, Mrs Priscilla Mitei, said their daughter had been taking care of them.

"We have suffered alot as a family. We have endured the pain of losing Emmy in the hands of a brute who called himself her husband," said Emmy's younger sister Susan Yegon.

Mourners were moved to tears when Emmy's children eulogised their mother, whom they described as the pillar of their family.

Hardworking teacher

"Mum, how can we even start calling you in the past? How will we ever come to terms with the reality that we will not see you again?" Emmy's first born daughter, Anita Chelangat, said as she eulogised her mother.

"It is unbelievable that you will not wake up from your sleep and that we will not be able to enjoy the sumptuous meals you used to cook for us and our friends," she went on her tribute.

Emmy's colleagues described her as a God-fearing mother and a hardworking teacher who was committed to her profession.

Mourners braved a heavy rainfall that pounded the area as speeches were being given, with some taking shelter in two tents erected at Kobel Primary School grounds as others followed proceedings from classrooms.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Bomet branch executive secretary, Mr Malel Langat, said there were too many cases of violence against teachers.

Mr Malel said there is need to address issues relating to gender based violence in the county that are at an all-time high.

"There is need to strengthen guidance and counseling department in school and churches which should be of service to all so as to avert similar cases in the future," said Mr Rodney Cheruiyot, the head teacher of Cheptalal Primary School where Emmy taught.

"Violence is the lowest form of civilization and we strongly condemn gender based violence in the community. We have lost a teacher who preached against violence," he added.

At the local trading centre, the carpentry shop that was operated by Mr Tonui, who is in police custody, remains closed three weeks after the incident occurred.

Mr Tonui has been arraigned in court but could not take a plea as he is yet to be subjected to psychiatrist test. He is expected to take a plea on October 26.

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