Jowie's hope of attending father's burial ceremony dashed by judge

Joseph Irungu alias Jowie aged 33 years old leaves Milimani court on March 13, 2024, when the court sentenced him to death after he was found guilty of murdering Monica Kimani. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Murder convict Joseph Irungu will not attend his father’s funeral.

This is after High Court Judge Chacha Mwita declined to order the Kenya Prisons Services to escort Irungu, alias Jowie, to Nakuru South Cemetery where his father, Julius Irungu, will be buried today.

If the court had allowed Jowie to attend the ceremony, he would have been the first prisoner to benefit from the orders issued by High Court Judge Lawrence Mugambi in February.

Mugambi ruled that prisoners and detainees have the right to attend funerals of close family members.

But on Friday, the Attorney General told the court that despite the orders, there were no regulations in place to facilitate prisoners to attend funerals.

Jowie was sentenced to death by the High Court for the murder of Monicah Kimani.

In his application, he told the court that he had appealed the March 13, 2024 Judgment by Justice Grace Nzioka.

In court, Jowie’s mother, Anastacia Thama, had said she was willing to foot the bill to ensure her son attends his father’s burial.

“On June 15, 2024, Julius Irungu Mwangi who is my husband and the applicant’s father passed away after a long battle with cancer. The funeral has been scheduled for Saturday, 22 June 2024 at the Nakuru South Cemetery,” stated Thama.

Thama told the judge that she wrote to the Commissioner General of Prisons requesting to have her son attend the burial. She said no one had responded to her plea.

“Applicant is yet to receive any feedback from the first respondent and in light of the urgency of the matter and the burial date is close, the Applicant is apprehensive that due to the bureaucracies in the offices of the Respondents, he may not receive any feedback before the scheduled burial,” she said.

In February, Justice Mugambi ruled that prisoners should be allowed to attend burials.

“A declaration be and is hereby issued that all sentenced prisoners and pretrial detainees held in custody have the right to be treated humanely which right includes permitting them to attend funeral and burials of their close family member unless there are compelling reasons for declining granting of permission,” Mugambi ruled.

The case was filed by journalist Moses Dola who was jailed for the murder of his wife, Wambui Kabiru.

Mugambi ordered Interior CS Kithure Kindiki to put in place mechanisms and structures to allow temporary release of prisoners.