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Court ends two years of battle over millionaire pastor burial

By Kamau Muthoni | July 14th 2021
The late Musa Magodo, who founded the Magodo International Ministries [Photo: Courtesy]

Millionaire Archbishop Musa Magodo will finally be buried at his matrimonial home at Gataka, Kajiado County.

Justice Lydiah Achode yesterday ordered that the body that had been lying at Umash Funeral Home be released to Gladys Ingaiza for burial. At the same time, the court ordered Ingaiza to consult with Magodo’s other widows Margaret Makungu and Gladys Nekesa and the bishop’s father and brother on burial plans.

The Family Court’s verdict on where the Magodo Ministries Archbishop will be buried ended a two-year battle between Nekesa and Ingaiza. Justice Achode said Magodo authored his misfortune by failing to put his house in order. He had customary marriage with Makungu and Ingaiza then also wedded.

“From the narrative that unravelled in the conduct of these proceedings, it appears that the deceased is the author of all the misfortunes which gave rise to this burial dispute. There is no doubt that none of the parties here brought upon themselves the confusion that ensued,” said Achode.

Although Magodo had ditched his traditions for Christianity, the judge ruled that members of his extended family and clan were at liberty to participate. At the heart of the case was who would bury him, and where. The battle was whether he should be buried in Kitale, where Nekesa lives, in Gataka where he wished to be buried or at his ancestral home in Kamukuywa, in Bungoma County.

The other battle was on who should prepare for the burial and the final rights. The court heard that the custom of the Bashirima Clan of the Tiriki sub-tribe of the Luhya, was that the clan takes over the burial ceremony and eventually buries the body in his first wife’s homestead. Makungu is Magodo’s first wife.

Ingaiza, through lawyer Sam Muga, argued that Makungu was not Magodo’s wife. He claimed the two came from the same clan and that it was therefore a taboo for them to marry.

Makungu, on the other hand, testified that she married Magodo, lived with him for 15 years and bore him four children. Makungu testified that they parted ways, he took her back to her parents but they never divorced.

Achode said: “... by taking Margaret back to her parent’s home, the deceased intended to divorce her. This is especially so since it has not been demonstrated that the deceased made efforts to bring Margaret back to his home. It is therefore right to conclude that the deceased intended to divorce Margaret but did not in fact see this through.”

Nekesa bore one child for Magodo. She lived in Nakuru and raised Makungu’s children. The court heard that they were separated.

However, the judge found that Magodo still valued Nekesa and Makungu since when he got sick, he informed them. “It is therefore evident that despite their separation and their not living with the deceased, the deceased still held a special place for Margaret and the plaintiff and wanted to keep them appraised of his health,” the judge ruled. [Kamau Muthoni]

However, the judge ruled that Ingaiza should be the one to arrange for the burial as she was by his side from the time he got ill in 2004 until his death.

“Whereas it is my finding that the deceased had three wives, in my considered view, his body ought to be released to the defendant for burial (Ingaiza). It was she who lived with him through his illness and provided consortium in the last two decades of his life and walked with him till he breathed his last,” she ruled.

The judge also directed that a DNA sample should be extracted should there be a contest on who his children are and who should inherit his estate.

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