The body of a woman who died in 2004, has finally been buried, after spending 17 years in the mortuary due to protracted disputes between family members.
Harare News has learned from Kenyan publications that Esther Nzakwa Kitivo died on August 31, 2004, at the age of 93. The matriarch was one of three wives in a polygamous marriage. She was the first wife of Gideon Kitivo Ndambuki, who died in 2000 at the age of 100.
Nzwaka was supposed to be buried at her matrimonial home in Mbuani village, Kola, Machakos county in Kenya but this was blocked. One of her stepsons objected to the burial arguing that the land in question belonged to him. He claimed that his father had gifted him the land.
However, Nzakwa’s family insisted that she could only be buried at her matrimonial home and thus began a long and bitter legal dispute which was to last 17 years.
After their plans to bury the matriarch at her matrimonial home were frustrated, Nzakwa’s family opted to leave her body at the Machakos Funeral Home.
They have since appealed for financial assistance from well-wishers to clear the mortuary bill which has gone up significantly, due to the inordinate length of time that Nzwaka spent in the mortuary.
Nzwaka’s last born son Michael Musau was leading the fight for his mother’s rights to be restored in a case which initially started at the Magistrate’s Court before going to the High Court.
However, in 2014, a High Court Judge declined to allow the body to be buried at her matrimonial home saying the court could not rely on traditional customs as testimony.
Aggrieved with this decision, the family filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal which ruled in their favour.
Nzakwa was finally buried on Saturday in Mbuani village. Speaking at the funeral, her son Micahel Musau said,
“We cried and mourned until our tears dried up. We now feel relieved.”
“Today we are burying our beloved mother who has been in the mortuary for 17 years. I thank all who have assisted us to bring her home. I think most of our siblings, including myself, now feel relieved,”