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Mijikenda customs ignored as court order burial

24 November 2014, 22:56 Ken Wekesa

Mombasa - A high court in Mombasa has ordered the release of a body for burial after a two years tussle to a boyfriend despite strict Mijikenda traditional customs forbidding the burial.

Justice Mary Kasongo ruled that the Kenyan society was a mixture of African tribal and western influence and a community cannot impose ts marriage customs to those do not want to follow it.

She said that if two adults contest to marriage and live as husband and wife then a tribe cannot rule otherwise

Lady Justice Mary Kasango who made the ruling noted that if two adults consent to a marriage and live as husband and wife then a tribe cannot rule otherwise.

  “What becomes to those who do not follow the customs of a tribe? Would a community such as the Mijikenda be allowed to say that they are not husband and wife?...they ought not to,” ruled Kasango.

Justice Kasango ruling brings to an end a tussle between the deceased boyfriend Eric Guni and the deceased father Jadi Munga.

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Francisca Wawuda Mwambao died in 2012 after she developed delivery complication while delivering at the coast general hospital.

The deceased had cohabited with Guni for three years from 2009 till 2012 before she passed on and since then her body had been lying at the coast general hospital after her further opposed the burial.

In the court papers filed in 2012 before a magistrate’s court, Munga argued that Guni did not pay dowry and therefore was not formally recognized in the Mijikenda as the deceased husband.

Munga argued that Mijikenda custom of marriage involved introduction of the groom to the bride’s parents in the presence of witnesses who ought to have included uncles, aunts and neighbors.

Whoever the respondent, Eric told the court that the deceased had disowned his father telling him that she was an orphan and that his father had not played any role in her upbringing.

Eric told the court that the deceased had introduced him to her sister who was her closest living relative and who gave them their blessings.

The magistrate directed the body to be released to Guni for burial but Munga appealed the lower court ruling at the High court.

Kasango upheld the lower courts’ ruling yesterday allowing for the burial after the three year legal tussle.

“The responsibility of burying the decease falls on the person who has the closest relationship connection. The trial court rightly released the body to the respondent,” said Kasango

He said he has been forced to visit his dead wife weekly after she kept on appearing in his dreams accusing him of abandoning her.

Guni said the body had accumulated over KES 500, 000 in mortuary bills.

- MyNews24

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