Why Sharon Otieno's family has disowned her estranged husband

The family of slain Rongo University student Sharon Otieno has disowned their ‘son in-law’ ahead of her burial.

Sharon reportedly separated from her Benard Otieno Owuor alias Okuta early this year.

According to Luo culture, a married woman must be buried in her husband’s home unless there is a serious obstacle.

Sharon will be buried at her paternal grandfather’s home at Magare village in Homa Bay County.

Many people expected her to be buried in Kamagambo, where Owuor hails from.

Owuor is said to be the father of Sharon’s two daughters.

The late Sharon Otieno's mother Melida Auma follows court proceedings in a Homa Bay court when the suspect linked to the murder of her daughter Michael Oyamo was arraigned. [DenishOchieng/Standard]

But Sharon’s paternal grandfather John Olweya, who spoke to journalists on behalf of the family, said they had distanced themselves from Owuor.

Olweya said Owuor had never visited their home to make his marriage with Sharon official.

“We are not aware of any marriage between Sharon and any man. The said husband has never paid us dowry and he has failed to visit this family to notify us that he was living with Sharon,” said Olweya.

He said Owuor had also failed to communicate with the family on whether he would bury Sharon.

The family, he said, is treating Sharon as an unmarried woman. As Luo culture stipulates that a girl who has attained the age puberty cannot be buried in her parents’ homestead, Sharon will be buried inside her grandfather’s compound.

“I don’t know whether they were living as boyfriend and girlfriend. But the position of this family is that Sharon had no husband. In this case, a grandfather is taken as an equivalent of a husband,” said Olweya.

The family’s lead lawyer, Homa Bay Town legislator Peter Kaluma, maintained they will not bury the slain student until her killers are arrested.