Taita family seeks help to bury kin for second time after land row

Ms Eliza Mwangala wh o is seeking to bury his son Dominic Mwaluma for the second time due to a bitter land row pitting the family against a distant relative.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika I Nation

A family in Marapu, Taita Taveta County is in agony as they seek to bury their son for the second time due to a bitter land row pitting the family against a distant relative.

The body of 24-year-old Dominic Mwaluma was exhumed in April 2018 after the Mombasa High Court issued the directive over a dispute on the land where he was buried a year earlier. 

Police said Mwaluma, who was a bodaboda rider, died by suicide in 2017 at his home in Voi. He did not leave a suicide note. 

After his death, his family was stopped by the said relatives from interring his remains on the land.

The family of the deceased alleged that the land was theirs and quickly buried the body on the disputed land against a court order.

The distant relatives moved to court and sought orders to exhume the body.

The exhumation of his remains a year later baffled Marapu residents who had gathered by the gravesite to witness the dramatic exercise that was being conducted by some youth in the company of the police.

Since then, the body has been lying at the Moi County Referral Hospital's mortuary, with his family not knowing where the body of their son was.

His relatives told Nation.Africa that they discovered that their son was at the mortuary three weeks ago.

The mother Hannah Eliza said a morgue attendant revealed to some people that there was a body of a man who had been lying at the mortuary for five years due to wrangles about his final resting place.

She said the attendant asked the people to inform the family that the body of their kin was at the mortuary for them to claim it.

"When they exhumed my son, I thought the police and the people who did that would bury him. As a family we did not have the energy and resources to follow up with them," she narrated. 

She said they expected her son to be buried at the Voi cemetery because they did not have alternative land.

"We thought the government will take care of where to bury my son. I mourned and I was hurt about the whole ordeal but I had nothing to do," she said.

Ms Eliza told Nation.Africa her family wishes to give her son a decent send-off once again and move on with life but his remains have been detained until they clear a Sh1.3 million mortuary bill.

This, she says, has awakened old wounds making healing impossible.

She is now appealing to well-wishers to help them raise the money to clear the bill so that they can move on with their lives.

She said the land issue was resolved in court and her family bought another parcel in Sagalla where they now settle.

"So far we have only managed to raise Sh3,000. We have sought help but nothing is forthcoming. I don't know whether I will ever be able to bury him again," she said.

She said the family was worried that they may not be able to bury their son as the mortuary charges continue to accumulate. 

When contacted, Taita Taveta Health Executive Gifton Mkaya said they would talk with the family to chart a way forward.

"I will contact them to see how we can help. It is true that it is a very huge bill that the family cannot afford to pay," he said.