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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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A battle has erupted in the United States between two Kenyan families over the burial of their three relatives who were killed in a domestic brawl. The dispute is between Danvas Omare, a brother to Bilha Ogendi who was killed together with her two children Kinley Isaboke Ogendi, and Ivyn Bosibori Ogendi, and Evans Kebabe, a brother to Bilha’s husband, Justus Ogendi. On the one hand, Omare wants the State of Minnesota to hand over to him the bodies of the slain victims so that he can burry them in New Jersey, while on the other, Kebabe wants the bodies shipped to Kenya for burial in their ancestral home in Kisii. The dispute has threatened to further polarise two families already suspicious of each other and might possibly derail the burial arrangements of the domestic violence victims. The killings have left many Kenyan immigrants and Americans shocked. Omare, who lives in New Jersey, does not see any need of sending the three bodies to Kenya. However, Kebabe who lived with his brother and the slain victims in Minnesota, argues that his family has the right to decide where the deceased should be buried and must be in accordance with the customary laws of Abagusii. Kebabe contends that according to the Kisii customary law, the deceased, who was duly married in accordance with Abagusii customs, should be buried at her matrimonial home in Nyaribari Chache, by her in-laws. He says that the payment of dowry in a marriage rules out the in-laws from taking the body of a sister irrespective of the circumstances of her death to bury her outside her matrimonial home when her father in-law and brothers in-law are alive. Kebabe has accused his brother in-law, Omare, of taking advantage of the State Law of Minnesota to claim his legitimacy to have exclusive rights to receive and transport the bodies to New Jersey and bury them.