BY GEORGE AMOLO IN SIAYA COUNTY.
A pastor from Siaya had his wish of burying his spouse granted after the county’s Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court ordered that his wife’s body buried by another man – also said to be her husband – be exhumed.
Janet Aoko Obiny, who died on January 2, 2019 at a Nakuru hospital, was buried on January 22 by the defendant at Luanda Doho Sub-Location in Khwisero, Kakamega County.
Evangelical pastor, Peter Obiny, however, went to court to contest Samuel Okinda’s decision to bury Ms Aoko, whom he [Obiny] said was still married to him by the time she died.
Mr Obiny, through his lawyer, told the court that Ms Aoko was legally his wife, going ahead to provide documents proving he had paid dowry for the deceased.
Mr Obiny submitted that he and Ms Aoko got married in 1994 according to Luo customs. He said later – in 1999 – he paid Ms Aoko’s dowry, which comprised a calf, a goat and Ksh20, 800.
Mr Obiny and Ms Aoko, however, separated in 2011. The preacher told the court “we never divorced”.
After their split, Ms Aoko met and got engaged to Mr Okinda without nullifying her first marriage.
Mr Obiny wanted the court to allow him bury his wife at her ancestral home in Lihanda Sub-Location, Gem Sub-county in Siaya.
On his part, Mr Okinda admitted that he was aware Ms Aoko was married to Mr Obiny long before he met her. He, however, told the court that – just like Mr Obiny –, he too had paid dowry for the deceased.
The respondent said he gave Ms Aoko’s brothers Ksh9, 000 as part of the bride price.
According to Mr Okinda, he had the rights to bury the deceased because her kinsmen had acknowledged him as their in-law.
Mr Obiny countered Mr Okinda’s argument, saying the Luo customary law did not recognise his dowry arrangement.
“My family would suffer trauma, curses and irreparable loss should I not be allowed to bury Janet, whose spirit would come to haunt us,” submitted Mr Obiny.
In his judgement on Thursday, March 7, Siaya Resident Magistrate, Tom Olando, said that he found that Mr Okinda acted “illegally and maliciously” by burying another man’s wife.
Mr Olando ordered Ms Aoko’s body be exhumed and buried at Mr Obiny’s ancestral land in Gem, Siaya County.
The magistrate further issued a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from burying Ms Aoko’s body at Khwisero.
The magistrate said both parties would be bear their own legal costs.
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