Wrangles between three wives delay burial of millionaire teacher for five years: The body of a former secondary school principal was buried on Friday after a five-year property dispute by his three widows.
Peter Njagi Gichini, a prominent teacher, died in 2015 aged 67, but was not interred as his widows fought in courts over his vast estate.
His body was kept at the Embu Level Five Hospital mortuary.
A lower court had issued an order for burial but family members filed counter appeals.
Finally, the Court of Appeal forced the family to agree to bury Njagi in a hurriedly conducted ceremony at his farm in Karia village, Kirinyaga Central constituency.
The brief ceremony was conducted by ACK clergy but there were no seats or food for mourners. It took less than 20 minutes and no speaker was allowed to address mourners
The clergyman did not give a sermon as is customary. He only prayed for the body and directed it to be lowered into the grave as tension rose among mourners.
The deceased’s nephew, Peter Gichini, said the family paid Sh285,000 mortuary fee.
He said the bone of contention was his uncle’s vast estate, including millions of shillings in various accounts.
Peter said Njagi married his first wife in a church wedding but later married two other wives in Kikuyu traditional ceremonies and he regarded them as part of the family.
Family members said the widows were advised by Njagi’s father to bury him together but rejected his counsel, only for the court to order them to do likewise.
“They were advised by my grandfather to agree in principle and bury him together but they refused to heed his advice and after five years the court has confirmed all three women as my late uncle’s wives,” Juliana Waruguru said.
However, some family members were dissatisfied and were said to have planned to hire people to disrupt the funeral.
Village elder Joseph Muriuki said Njagi was a respected man “only to be buried like a witch”. He advised men to write wills to prevent property disputes.
Njagi left behind 11 children and more than 30 grandchildren.
by GEOFFREY KIBISU