Body of octogenarian still in mortuary 18 months after demise over land tussle.

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The body of 85-year- old Timona Mlana Amukumbi is still at a mortuary since July 19, 2019 following a land dispute between his kin and those of the people who sold him the land he is supposed to be buried some 46 years ago.

Amukumbi is said to have acquired the three-acre parcel from the late James Kangaiya in 1975 at Sh6,000. He only managed to pay Sh 3,300 and was to settle the balance of Sh 2,700 later.

The sons of the late Mr Kangaiya claimed that their father had left a will before he died to the effect that Amukumbi settles the balance with his sons. This stalled the funeral programme which was coming to a close.

Alfred Musavi , Amukumbi’s son says that they received a call from the Mukumu Hospital morgue attendant asking him and his kin not to go pick the body of their late father until a land dispute case filed in court was determined.

“The attendant said that one Charles Kangaiya had filed a case at the Kakamega law courts which birthed the order,” said Musavi. “I told the mourners that there would be no burial on that day and asked them to return to their homes.”

During the same week Musavi who is the administrator of his late father’s land was ordered to appear in court to sort out the land issue that had stalled the burial. The case was ruled in favour of Musavi.

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Kangaiya, the administrator of his father’s estate, returned to court to appeal against the decision and lost on May 5, last year.  Musavi’s family was however never ordered to bury their father’s body.

“The mortuary bill is currently at Sh580,000. Our lawyer had asked the court to compel Kangaiya to pay the bill,” said Musavi.

Kangaiya had deposited Sh 500,000 in court while filing the case which Musavi asked the court to forfeit for paying the bill.

The case was supposed to come up for mention on February 7, but the magistrate who was handling it was involved in an accident.

Initially the family of Amukumbi had tried to solve the matter before the local administrators but the administrators referred them to court.

“I left my work in Kisumu to come and deal with this issue and I have never found time to go back to the city. Luhya customs don’t allow an elder son to go on with his activities anyhow after his father has passed on,” said Musavi.

Musavi says he has been staying at the parcel for 41 years without ever hearing that the parcel was never fully paid for.

His mother Ester Muhatia, 75, on the other hand says her husband had settled the entire amount for purchase of the land.

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“The late James Kangaiya came to this homestead and confirmed that the land deal was done and settled. When my husband was alive no one raised a finger about the ownership of the disputed land. But when he died Charles Kangaiya appeared,” she said.

She says that she has been in agony waiting for when the matter will be settled so that she can close up the chapter of burying her husband.

On the other hand Charles Kangaiya still holds that the balance on the land deal must be paid “in present day rates because my father left a will saying the land sale balance was never settled.”

“If Musavi and his people cannot afford the rates then they can as well share the land with my family. We want justice,” he said.

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