Residents of Gem, Siaya county expressed shock after the wife of Prof. Richard Alex Nyabera Magoha was a no-show at his burial ceremony.
Janet Achieng' and her two daughters; Crystal Sara Aloo and Ashley Agnes Atieno remained in the United States (US) as her husband was being laid to rest in Siaya.
Curious residents could not contain their disappointment as they constantly gossiped in hushed tones as the casket of the late Nyabera was leaving for Yala township primary school at Urim village.
The family was however presented by his son Bonfas Magoha .
The villagers who sought anonymity stated that Achieng's failure to attend her husband's burial was a disappointment of the highest order since tradition demanded that the surviving spouse must be present at their partner's burial.
"We are really wondering what’s happening to this family that has always been respected for the past years," the source said.
It is rumoured that Achieng' who hails from Ugenya missed the burial on purpose so that she is not forced to attend her in-law's burial ceremony slated for February 11, 2023.
According to Luo traditions, the house is built in the presence of a wife and even when couples are alive, they establish their homes together but some elders feel that it was wrong to bury Alex in a new home when his parents’ home was still intact.
Richard had left a small house at their home commonly known as Simba.
James Riaga, chairman of the Siaya Council of Elders defended Achieng's actions noting that it was against tradition for a wife to the deceased to get into a new home that she was not part of.
"If the new home was being established, the wife to the deceased ought to be present. In fact, Nyabera was to be buried next to his parents at their home since he had not established his own home," Riaga stated.
"Even if it is a deserted home, they would have traced a site where the parents were buried for him to be laid to test next to them. That’s what the Luo tradition demands," he added.
Riaga additionally highlighted that once the deceased was buried at their home, the widow would seek a man from the family lineage(Shemeji) to help her build a home.
The wife to the late Prof George Magoha, Barbra Odudu Magoha was also a no-show at her in-law's burial ceremony.
The eldest brother to Magoha, John Obare, while eulogizing his brother noted that his sister-in-law and family failed to attend the ceremony due to unavoidable circumstances.
"Let the gathering know that the wife to Alex Nyabera whose parents have attended the burial in number know that she is not with us and the reason is best known to her," he stated.
Obare added that the grave and new house of Alex was built by Prof Magoha.
“Our brother Alex left Kenya for the USA a long time ago and spent his entire life there and our brother the late Prof. Magoha took up the initiative of building him a new house in a separate land," he added.
Similarly, the Magoha family has called on Kenyans to put them in their prayers as they go through the trying moments.
Led by Obare and Magoha's last-born brother Joseph Ongile Magoha, the two reiterated that the bereaved family needed prayers.
Speaking during the same event, Ongile ruled out speculations that the death of their brothers were unnatural.
"I don't believe in speculations from certain quarters that their deaths are caused by some people. I believe God's time is the best. So it's only prayers that we need from Kenyans especially now that we are burying Alex and preparing to lay to rest former CS Magoha," Joseph said.
"He taught us compassion, resilience and to love one another. We are heartbroken that he is no longer with us," he added.
The deceased's sister Mary Magdaline Owuor reiterated the need for prayers while eulogizing her late brother Nyabera.
"We appeal to Kenyans to put us in prayers. He (the deceased) told us to always thank God for everything before seeking other favours from Him. My brother Nyabera had requested the family to remain united," she said.