Lawyer of nominated MCA threatens to sue, accusing family of going back on agreement reached on Friday
The body of Kibra MP Ken Okoth was yesterday cremated in a private event at Kariokor crematorium in the absence of his lover, nominated MCA Anne Muthoni Thumbi, and their son, Jayden Baraka Okoth.
The lawyers representing the late Okoth’s family and that of Ms Thumbi differed over the reason for the latter’s absence at the cremation ceremony, with the MCA’s lawyer accusing the deceased’s family of conducting the MP’s final rites behind their back.
Orange Democratic Movement party secretary-general Edwin Sifuna, the lawyer for the Okoth family, claimed Ms Thumbi’s side had opted not to be part of the event.
“The ceremony started early in the morning in the presence of only a few people. Anne’s lawyer yesterday said they were not going to attend and only Okoth’s brothers and some guests were there,” he said.
But Ms Thumbi’s lawyer, Elkanah Mogaka, disputed Mr Sifuna’s claims, saying the ceremony was done in secrecy and that they only saw a statement on the ODM Twitter account that they had cremated the body.
“I can confirm to you that Jayden was not included in the cremation ceremony and as it stands the family is in disobedience of the court order and we will be taking action on the same on Monday,” said Mr Mogaka.
On Friday, a Nairobi court adopted a consent signed by Monica Okoth, the wife of late Kibra MP, and Ms Thumbi, where the two agreed that a DNA test be undertaken to confirm the paternity of Jayden.
The two parties also agreed that the five-year-old boy be allowed to participate in the funeral arrangements.
This is after Ms Thumbi moved to court on Thursday seeking to have the burial of her secret lover stopped until the controversy surrounding Jayden’s paternity is resolved.
She also demanded recognition of her five-year-old child as the lawmaker’s biological son.
She sued Okoth’s mother, Angeline, his widow Monica, and the Lee Funeral Home as the first, second and third defendants, respectively.
The hearse carrying the body left Lee Funeral Home at 6am, snaking its way through the city centre and past as it headed to Hindu Shamsan Bhumi near Gikomba for the interment.
The team consisting of immediate family and close friends arrived at the crematorium at 6.40am for the final send-off which kicked off at 8am.
The ceremony, which lasted slightly over an hour, ended some minutes after 9am, marking the last chapter of Okoth’s sojourn in the world.
There has been a stalemate over whether the former Kibra MP was to be buried at his maternal grandparents’ home in Kabondo Kasipul, Homa Bay County.
Okoth’s wish, according to his widow Monica, was that his body be cremated, but the Luo Council of Elders were opposed to it.
His mother wanted the body buried in her home, and his father’s relatives said that is not possible under Luo customs, and that he should be buried near his father’s grave.
Mr Okoth’s widow and his younger brother were pushing for the cremation of the fallen MP’s body, while his mother and his elder brother wanted the body buried at her home in Kabondo Kasipul.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga, who was also drawn into the controversy, said Mr Okoth’s body should be handed over to the family to determine the late MP’s final resting place.
This position was echoed by the Luo Council of Elders, through Mr Nyandiko Ongadi, who insisted that the burial arrangements must conform to the Luo culture, and that Okoth’s widow should not dictate the manner in which he should be given a send-off.
In Kabondo Kasipul, where tents had been erected in anticipation of a funeral service yesterday, angry villagers protested the cremation of the late MP’s body in Nairobi.
The family members, including one of Mr Okoth’s elder brothers, Mr Rashid Omondi, and uncles, said it was wrong for the body of the MP to be cremated.
Mr Omondi said the villagers had expected that the body would be flown to Homa Bay county for the final rites only to learn with great shock that his body had been cremated in Nairobi.
“I am still puzzled that some members of my family resolved to cremate the body of my brother. I am against the practice and condemn it in the strongest terms possible,” he said.
Mr Benson Samba, one of Mr Okoth’s maternal uncles, said it was everyone’s wish that the body of the MP is taken to Kabondo Kasipul for viewing.
“The least they could have done was to let us view the body and take it back for whatever they had planned,” he said.
By Collins Omulo, Sunday Nation