Dispute keeps woman’s body in morgue for eight months

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 23:09 |
Mombasa Law Courts.

Monica Kagia

The body of a former employee of Mombasa County government Janet Nzara Kai is still lying at the mortuary, eight months after death.

This after three brothers of the deceased moved to court to stop her husband William Mzungu Kiti from interring the body at their matrimonial home.

Nzara was an executive secretary at the county government and was allegedly married to Mzungu who is a Tuk Tuk driver.

The deceased’s brothers; Daniel Gari Kai, Arnold Gogo Kai and Lawrence Kai, who are the petitioners in a case filed at the Mombasa Law Courts, claim their sister was not married and Mzungu is a stranger to them.  

Nzara died after a long battle with cancer. Mzungu, hit news headlines late last year when he was arrested by a police officer for breaking traffic rules only for the cops to pardon him and donate blood for his sick wife after he learnt of what the man was going through.

They claim Mzungu had not paid dowry according to the Mijikenda tradition and therefore he “is not known by the family.”

The brothers want the court to order Coast Provincial General Hospital Mortuary to release their sister’s body to them for burial.

They want their sister buried according to the Chonyi customs since the husband had not officially married her.

The three told the court the deceased was a member of the Chonyi sub-tribe of the Mijikenda community who are governed in their social relations and affairs by the traditions and customs.

“According to the Mijikenda community, a deceased woman, who despite cohabiting with a man and having had children with that man, is under the care, guidance and responsibility of the family unless the man marries her in accordance with the customs of the community,” reads the plaint.

They further allege the defendant has no right to bury the deceased as he was not married to her in accordance with the said traditions and customs.

Yesterday, Nzara’s uncle Wilmond Deche Gogo told Senior Resident Magistrate Joshua Nyariki there was no legally bidding marriage between the two.

Gogo argued that there was no civil, customary or any other marriage recognised by law in Kenya between the two.

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