'Cook for me Githeri': Woman's last words to her mother before her mysterious death in Nakuru

Jane Jeremani hold a portrait of her daughter Esther Kamanze.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The circumstances surrounding Kamanze's death remain shrouded in mystery, prompting the family to call for a thorough investigation. 
  • Police say they are waiting for a post-mortem report that will help investigators take the matter forward.

At 12pm on February 3, Jane Jeremani received a call from her first-born daughter, Esther Kamanze, informing her of a visit the following day and even asking her to prepare her githeri.

In a heartbreaking turn of events, around 12 hours later, at 12:51am, Jeremani received another call from an unknown number, later identified as Kamanze's in-law, informing her that her 33-year-old daughter had died.

The caller urged her to rush to Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The circumstances surrounding Kamanze's sudden death remain shrouded in mystery, prompting the family to call for a thorough investigation. 

Relatives mourns the death of Esther Kamanze. 

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

In an interview, Ms Jeremani said that when she arrived at the hospital, accompanied by her two neighbours, she found her daughter's lifeless body surrounded by her husband's family.

They claimed she had died of poisoning, but demands for a deeper investigation were met with resistance when they refused to allow a post-mortem. 

After viewing the body, she requested that it be taken to the mortuary, but the mortuary attendants initially refused, demanding a letter from the police. After some discussion, the body was finally admitted with the promise that the letter would be provided the next morning.

"The body was covered in dust. Her hands were twisted and her face was swollen. After looking at her body, I asked to be taken home," Ms Jeremani recalled.

The next day, she went the house where Kamaze was living with her partner in Kiamunyi area.

"I asked if my daughter had quarrelled with her partner before she allegedly killed herself. But the man said they had been fine all along and had even taken her out for a late lunch where they had a good time.

"He also explained that when he returned home that evening, he went to buy meat around 8pm and when he returned to the house, he found his wife in pain and they tried to administer ashes instead of seeking medical help immediately," Ms Jeremani told Nation.africa.

She further said she became more suspicious after the father of Kamanze's partner insisted on leading the burial arrangements, setting a date just three days after her death. When a relative inquired about an autopsy, the man vehemently refused, saying it was unnecessary. 

Frustrated by the lack of cooperation, Ms Jeremani reported the matter to Menengai Police Station and also reported that the other family tried to force her to sign affidavits at the Nakuru Magistrate's Court to avoid an autopsy, but she refused. 

Jane Jeremani during an interview. 

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

"We have decided to do an autopsy even though we are poor. We will wait even if it takes a long time, we just want to know the cause of death," Ms Jeremani said through tears.

According to Ms Jeremani, her daughter and her partner have been living together since April 2023. In December 2023, the man told her that his family was planning to pay dowry for Kamanze.

Kamanze had been working at one of the telecommunication companies since 2018 before resigning to go back to school to further her studies, but the person who was supposed to sponsor her education died, leaving her with no option but to start doing menial jobs.

According to Donnata Otieno, head of the Rongai Criminal Investigation Department, police received a complaint from Kamanze's family a few days after the incident. She said the family suspected that their daughter had been murdered by her husband, adding that they had launched an investigation.

Otieno said a post-mortem report will help investigators take the matter forward.