Court orders co-wives to keep off husband’s body

An Eldoret court has barred two co-wives locked in a dispute over a burial site to keep from their deceased husband’s body.

Ms Agnetta Oyiera and Ms Ruth Anyolo claim to have been married to Fredrick Muyeshi who died on February 2 at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and each wants to bury him at their separate homes in Kakamega County.

The controversy began on February 14 when Anyolo and her family arrived at the hospital mortuary to collect the body for burial in Shisesu in Idakho only to be served with a court order barring them from collecting it.

Oyiera had filed an application at the Eldoret Chief Magistrate’s court on February 13 claiming she was the first wife of the deceased and was entitled to bury him in Chekalini according to Luhya customs. She said she had been excluded from funeral arrangements.

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“I was married to the deceased in 1968 and together we were blessed with six children. In 1981 when I was working in Nairobi, I realised Anyolo had moved into our matrimonial home in Shisesu. My attempt to access the home was futile because she was hostile,” said Oyiera in her plea.

She said she was forced to buy land in Chekalini where she alleged she had been living with her husband after she retired. She said she was not in a position to bury her husband in Shisesu since her matrimonial house was demolished by Anyolo’s family.

Anyolo on the other hand claims she was staying with the deceased as the second wife and that Amwayi had shown where he wanted to be buried.

“My husband showed family members the exact spot where he desired to be buried. He even stated that in his will. The applicant was part of the burial planning meeting and had not objected to the plan to have the body buried in Shisesu, only to proceed to court secretly,” responded Anyolo.

Oyiera disputed the claims, saying no resolutions were shown to prove agreement on a burial site, and that the will referred to by Anyolo is suspect because it contained a thumbprint instead of a signature yet the deceased was literate and had always signed documents. She affirmed that her marriage certificate is sufficient proof to grant her the superior right to bury her husband.

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Anyolo had sought in vain to have the court lift the temporary orders to llow her to bury her husband on February 17.

Lawyers Moses Esikuri and Mwaniki Kariuki, representing Oyiera opposed the request by Ledisha Kipseei representing Anyolo that orders be lifted and body buried ahead of a full trial.

The case will be mentioned on Tuesday.

co-wivescourt ordersfamily dispute