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Family wants court to allow them bury kin in disputed land

By Harold Odhiambo | June 20th 2019
Youths exhume the body of the late Ogada Ouko at Tiengre in Kisumu county on May 23 following a court order over land dispute.

The family of a man whose body has been lying in the mortuary for six years is seeking orders to bury on disputed piece of land.

Four relatives of Barack Ogada yesterday narrated to Kisumu Senior Principal Magistrate Winfred Okunya how they had tried, unsuccessfully, to have his body buried.

The relatives have been sued by James Onunga, who presented a title deed and purchase agreement showing him as being the land owner.

Ms Okunya heard that the family had made two attempts to bury the body but were unsuccessful.

First attempt

Ogada’s widow, Jessica Ogada, told the court they first tried to bury him shortly after his death in 2014.

“When we brought the body for burial, Onunga came in the company of policemen and took the body away and returned it to the mortuary,” said Ms Ogada.

She said in 2017, the family obtained a court order allowing them to bury the body in the same parcel. But the interment was short-lived after Onunga returned nearly one month after the burial, exhumed the body and returned it to the mortuary.

“I was jailed for a month in Kodiaga Prison after the burial,” the widow said.

The widow told the court that although Onunga claimed that they had invaded his land, she knew that it had been their family land where her husband’s family lived until 1983 when they moved to Nandi.

According to Ms Ogada, the land in question belonged to her father-in-law Francis Ago.

Thomas Ago, another defendant, told Okunya they only learnt that the land had been transferred when they were taken to court.

The magistrate ordered the court executive officer to present case documents filed in the Lands Court.

Hearing will continue on August 21.

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