Drama ensued at Kakamega County Referral Mortuary on Tuesday after the family of the deceased demanded to be paid dowry before the body is taken by the in-laws for burial.
The family of the late Beatrice Ngoya which hails from Tangwa village in Luanda blocked Josphat Ndeda family from taking the body.
Margaret Akosa, mother to Ngoya argued according to customs you cannot bury a woman who has given birth to children without paying dowry.
“Custom demands that if a man cannot pay dowry, his wife be buried by her siblings. My daughter has been married for over 20 years and the family has never received any token either money or a cow from the family. They must honor our request and then bury the late in peace,” Akosa said.
Traditionally, when a woman dies before the payment of dowry, the husband rushes home and agrees with her family on the payment of dowry, then it is paid before the burial.
“If we allow them to bury the body, whom will we demand dowry from?” she posed.
Hudson Yanke, a divine church member said they arrived at the mortuary and found the two families arguing.
“There was nothing we could do but urge them to clear the Sh160, 000 bill. As a church we cannot intervene but let them argue. We only come in when they have reached an agreement is we when we can continue with burial service,” Yanke said.
Ndeda who hails from Chemarok village in Hamisi Sub County said has been married for the last 20 years and have children with the late.
“I was astonished when my in-laws said I cannot bury my wife unless I pay the cows and the money they are demanding as dowry,” he said.
He noted that on Monday before going to the mortuary the deceased family had agreed on the way forward and was surprised when they started arguing at the mortuary.
“I bought the cow as they requested and even asked them to come for the dowry but they didn’t show up. Instead they told me to go the mortuary and take the body. When we arrived they started arguing, we can’t fight over the body of a woman who has given birth to children, we will clear the bill,” he said.
He further noted when the argument got hotter, they were forced to remove the convoy of vehicles they had parked to escort the body.
He insisted that he was willing to pay dowry again although there was no agreement on how much should be given.
It took the intervention of the elders to calm them and allow the body be buried but the woman family is still threatening to exhume the body if their pledge is not honored.