After over three months of waiting, gospel artiste Ruth Matate’s husband, Pastor John Apewajoye was finally laid to rest.
Apewajoye was buried Thursday at Langata Cemetery, Nairobi after a short, solemn and emotional service in the presence of his family and friends.
The body had been lying at the Kenyatta National Hospital mortuary where it was taken after the April 11 death following a controversial house fire tragedy.
Apewajoye succumbed to fire-related injuries while undergoing treatment at the hospital. Officials said he suffered sepsis and multiple organs failure among them deteriorating renal and liver functions.
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In her tribute, the heavily pregnant Ms Matete and the former Tusker Project Fame (TPF) winner said she had not seen the death of Apewajoye coming and was confident that God would heal the deceased and he would go back home.
“It hurts so much, at first I thought God was so unfair but later on I remembered the prayer I made to God, to heal you completely, to take away the pain and to resurrect with you,” said an emotional Ms Matete.
“I did not mean it that way, all I know is I just wanted to have you back home, healed. God has answered my prayer, it may not be the answer I expected, but it sure is what I asked for.”
She promised to continue with the ministry they started at their church in Nairobi.
Ms Matete’s father, Abel Amunga said through Apewajoye, he gained the “son” he never had and an intercessor.
He said after Covid-19 pandemic is over, they will organise a celebration in memory of Apewajoye, saying he was an extraordinary man. He added that he has forgiven all those who spread malicious rumours about Matete and Apewajoye.
“Right here and now I want to say I forgive every person on social media and all other media platforms that conveyed negative news about my daughter and people that surround her. I do it for me and my daughter,” said Amunga.
In a span of five months, Ms Matete said she and Apewajoye had a wedding, were ordained as pastors, started a church and were expecting a son.
Most of Apewajoye’s relatives and friends reside in Nigeria and were not be able to attend the burial because of the ongoing Covid-19 travel restrictions.
However, a legal representative of Apewajoye’s family and the Nigerian embassy in Kenya, Rev Maji Hassan was present at the burial.
Earlier, Ms Matete had struggled to clear her late husband’s accumulated hospital bills amounting to over Sh600,000 which she partially raised through M-Changa, an online fundraising platform.
Ms Matete was questioned by Directorate of Criminal Investigations over her husband’s mysterious death.
The Nigerian Embassy in Nairobi had requested that the body be held until the ongoing probe into the deceased’s death is concluded, a move that Ms Matete objected to.
Mortuary and burial expenses
It took almost a month before the embassy allowed her to pick the body and by then the bill had hit Sh600,000.
Her lawyer Mr Robert Odanga said then she was happy with DCI’s proposal to have the mortuary fee waived but she was yet to receive a response to the fee waiver request from the hospital.
Mr Odanga added that the effect the case has had on his client’s career has caused her a huge financial burden on top of her mourning because she can no longer engage in her income-generating activities.
Ms Matete had demanded that the embassy clears the mortuary and burial expenses before she can accept the body for burial.
She insisted that the embassy issued insufficient reasons to warrant the holding of the body since the autopsy results had been released and she had the consent to bury him in the country.
Ms Matete has maintained that her husband burnt parts of his upper body on the fateful day at around 5pm after a failed attempt to properly light up their 6kg unused gas cylinder.
Questions over the circumstances surrounding his death were however raised prompting a probe of the incident by the DCI.
An autopsy procedure confirmed that the body did not bear any visible marks of injury or signs of struggle.
Additionally, his brain did not bear any signs of hypoxic injuries that result from strangulation, smoke inhalation, shock or poisoning from a drugs overdose.