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93-year-old Kenyan granny buried after 17 years

By Japheth Makau | April 27th 2021

A family in Mbuani village, Machakos County has finally buried its family matriarch which has been lying at a mortuary for the last 17 years.

Meanwhile, they have racked up a Sh3 million bill.

Esther Nzakwa Kitivo died on August 31, 2004, at the age of 93 years but could not be buried before a protracted land dispute was settled.

The remains of Nzakwa which have been lying at MachakosFfuneral Home were on Saturday buried at one of her sons’ homes pending the determination of the land case.

The burial, which lasted slightly more than an hour, was devoid of tension although under heavy police security.

John Ndunda, one of her grandchildren vividly recounted how the caring granny took care of him and his other siblings after the death of their mother in the early 1980s.

Her son Michael Musau Kitivo described her as a disciplinarian who made sure her children went through formal education.

He said that interment of their mother is a big relief to the family which has mourned for nearly two decades.

Her children, who are now senior citizens, opted to bury the body even as the mortuary bills piled up to over Sh3 million and have been calling on well-wishers to assist.

Nzakwa was the first of three wives of Gideon Kitivo Ndambuki, who died on December 13, 2,000 aged 100.

According to Kamba customs, the first wife is usually buried adjacent to her husband at their matrimonial home.

The dispute has been handled by seven judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal. The case was first heard at a Magistrate’s Court.

On March 28, 2014, Justice Beatrice Thuranira Jaden declined to allow the body to be buried at her matrimonial home. She said the court could not rely on traditional customs as a testimony to decide where Nzakwa’s body was to be interred.

An attempt to bury Nzakwa in 2004 flopped when one of her stepsons claimed to have consent from the Land Control Board. The consent letter said the home belonged to the stepson. He obtained a permanent injunction from a magistrate in Machakos.

The family, however, insisted that Nzakwa could only be buried at her home.

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