Kin of officer in suicide case say he may be denied burial honours

 Meru Level Five Hospital mortuary

Police officers at Meru Level Five Hospital mortuary on January 26, 2022 load the casket bearing the remains of Constable Duke Nyamweya who died of suspected suicide. Mr Nyamweya’s family expressed concerns that his bosses could deny him the ceremonial send-off reserved for officers.

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro | Nation Media Group

The family of a police officer who died in a suspected suicide has expressed concerns that his bosses could deny their relative the traditional ceremonial send-off reserved for officers at his funeral today (Thursday).

Officers who picked up the body of Police Constable Duke Nyamweya from the Meru Level Five Hospital mortuary dressed it in a civilian black suit and a red tie, and not in a police uniform.

Servicemen who die on active duty are usually buried in elaborate, colourful ceremonies where the casket is draped with a police flag and accorded gun salutes.

However, the officer could be denied the burial honours as he is said to have died by suicide and had been interdicted pending a review of several disciplinary matters that were facing him.

A senior officer who understands the police service procedure said an officer who takes his own life forfeits the official burial ceremony.

However, Igembe North police boss Mbatian Kantai insisted that the officer, who made headlines after he shot his civilian girlfriend six times in a quarrel in August 2020, would receive the gun salutes.

Found in River Kathita

Mr Nyamweya’s body was found in the River Kathita, near Meru town, two weeks ago in what police believe was suicide.

They retrieved an interdiction letter dated January 2, 2022 from his pockets.

On Wednesday, his visibly dejected father, Mr Peter Memba, identified the body before it was taken for burial in Itumbe, Kisii County.

The body was ferried by a vehicle from the Mutuati Police Station, where he worked, and about six police officers joined the cortege.

Mr Nyamweya was to attend a police disciplinary hearing in March for allegedly misusing a firearm in the attack on Ms Everlyne Njoki, who survived the 2020 attack.

He also faced a charge of attempted murder at the Maua Magistrate Court. His trial was yet to start.

Ms Njoki had surprisingly declared that she had forgiven her would-be killer.

She suffered three gunshots in her chest, while two penetrated through the hands and hurt her ribs, while the sixth hit her jaw in a 10-shot fusillade.

Medical reports indicated that all the bullets that hit Ms Njoki exited without injuring crucial organ tissues but leaving gaping wounds.

Relocated to Mombasa

The 23-year-old woman had to relocate to Mombasa after Mr Nyamweya, who, despite being interdicted, lived near her home and constantly harassed her whenever they met.

On Wednesday, a relative accompanying Mr Memba expressed concerns about the way Mr Nyamweya's body was dressed and said they had not been able to retrieve his personal belongings.

“We have not been handed his belongings. We were told that there was a fire in the police quarters where he lived and it had consumed everything,” he said.

Mr Memba expressed dissatisfaction with the postmortem results that indicated Mr Nyamweya drowned, saying they had spotted marks that suggested he had been beaten up.

Police officers at the mortuary discouraged Mr Memba from continuing to speak with journalists.

Earlier, he had told Nation.Africa that his son had asked for Sh300 about two days before he died, saying he needed food.

“We had talked on Friday and he said he needed money and I sent him Sh300. He said he didn’t have money for food. He said he was being disturbed by the ongoing case,” recalled Mr Memba.

Ms Njoki also said Mr Nyamweya had called her two days before his death asking for Sh200 but she told him that she did not have it then.

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