Police in Malava, Kakamega County were on Friday evening (June 26) forced to confiscate a casket carrying the body of a 67-year-old woman, Maureen Khalwale, after her widower and parents differed on where the deceased would be buried.
Both parties (widower and deceased’s parents) hail from different villages within Malava Constituency.
The mourners, who were travelling by road at 4pm, had to pull over on the Kakamega-Webuye Road to iron out their differences. The parties had collected the woman’s remains from Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital morgue at 2pm Friday.
The woman’s widower maintained that the deceased, until her death, was his wife despite her fleeing from her matrimonial home six years ago. He said there were no records to show he had divorced his wife. He further alleged that the deceased “escaped from my home with a large amount of money”.
The deceased’s parents, on the other hand, said by the time the 67-year-old woman was dying, she was living with them, and, therefore, the widower could not lay a claim to her body.
The resultant conflict attracted the attention of police officers, who took the woman’s body to Kabras Police Station, saying they would only release it after the wrangling parties reach an agreement.
The deceased’s sister said Maureen’s husband had never taken care of her throughout her ailment, and, therefore, he stood no chance of burying her.
After arguing for hours, Maureen’s widower managed to have his way.
The deceased’s family members, however, asked the widower to allow Maureen “pass by her father’s homestead to pick her belonging, and, thereafter, leave for her husband’s place as culture demands”.
The widower agreed, and the parties went to Kabras Police Station, where they communicated their mutual consent, resulting in the release of Maureen’s casket.