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Sharon Otieno’s family demands justice as foetus buried

By James Omoro | Published Sat, September 15th 2018 at 00:19, Updated September 15th 2018 at 00:22 GMT +3
Friends and relatives carry the casket bearing the remains of Sharon Otieno's foetus at Magare village, Homa Bay County, on Friday. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Emotions ran high during the burial of the foetus of slain Rongo University student Sharon Otieno as relatives called for justice.

The burial took place after it had been postponed for a day from Thursday.

Friday however, there was a six-hour delay after MED 25 International–Kenya (Kirindo) Hospital mortuary declined to release the foetus.

The management said the family had failed to present the death notification form from a pathologist.

“This matter is sensitive. We need the form to enable us release the body. We cannot release it without the document,” said a morgue official.

The standoff forced the management to call police officers who quelled the tension as mourners grew impatient. Sharon’s mother Melinda Auma contacted a CID officer who liaised with pathologists to send the form via WhatsApp.

The foetus was buried in the home of Samuel Odege, Sharon’s paternal grandfather.

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Hundreds of mourners attended the burial. Each of them mourned silently to conform with the local culture, which dictates that nobody should cry loudly over the death of a new born baby.

The foetus arrived home at 4.27pm. Contrary to adults whose bodies are taken inside the house for viewing, the foetus was transported directly to the grave.

The ceremony started with a short prayer that lasted about 10 minutes. Rev Samuel Allan of Anglican Church of Kenya Homa Bay Cathedral conducted the burial service.

In his preaching, Allan urged the residents to avoid making comments that could hurt the family. “I want every mourner to compare this situation with their own. Let us guard our tongues to ensure we don’t hurt this family,” said Allan.

Sharon’s foetus should have been buried at her estanged husband Benard Owuor’s home in Rongo Constituency, according the Luo customs.

But the family decided to bury it at her grandfather’s home due lack of communication between Owuor and Sharon’s family.

According to John Olweya, an elder who spoke on behalf of the family, Owuor had not paid dowry for Sharon.

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