Kenya: Court Stops Woman's Burial in Disputed Piece of Land

28 October 2020

Mourners were shocked Wednesday when the funeral of a woman was stopped in Kiamugumo Village, Kirinyaga County, following a court order.

The mourners were gathered in the village ready to give Sarah Wambui, 41, a final send-off when a legal order was served to her family members, barring them from burying their daughter over a land dispute.

Emotions ran high as the family members announced that the funeral could not take place as it had been stopped by the Gichugu court.

All burial arrangements had been completed when a woman, Nancy Njoki, claiming ownership of the land where Wambui was to be buried, arrived wielding the order.

In the order, Njoki accused Wambui's family of planning to bury their daughter on the land without her consent.

The order restrained the deceased's family or their agents from burying her on the disputed land until the application filed by Njoki is heard and determined.

Consequently, the mourners left for their respective homes grumbling while others broke down and wept uncontrollably.

Wambui's mother, Esther Gutu, said the decision by the court took family members by surprise.

"We were all shocked on receiving the order that put off the burial of Wambui who died after a short illness," Ms Gutu said.

Ms Gutu said her daughter had lived on the land for many years and family members should not be blocked from burying her there.

"Even her husband was buried on the same land and no one is complaining," Ms Gutu said

Wambui's brother Samuel Gacoki said food which was meant to be cooked to feed the mourners was shared out.

He said Wambui's body would remain in the mortuary as they waited for the court to resolve the dispute.

An Anglican Church priest, the Reverend James Njogu, who was scheduled to conduct the burial ceremony, said:

" I was taken aback when I heard what had transpired. It is a sad day for the mourners and the church."

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