In Kenya, a family in Mbuani village , Machakos County has finally buried the body of it’s matriarch which has been lying at a mortuary for the last 17 years.

Esther Nzakwa​ Kitivo died on​ August 31, 2004 at the age of 93 years and her interment could not be conducted due to a protracted land tussle.

The remains of Nzakwa, which have been lying in mortuary, were on Saturday buried at her son’s home pending the determination of an ongoing land case.

The burial ceremony, which lasted​ for about an hour, was conducted under police security.​

Her son Michael Musau Kitivo described her as a disciplinarian who made sure her children went through formal education. He said that interment of their mother was a big relief to the family which has mourned for nearly two decades.

For the period the body has been lying at the morgue, mortuary charges piled up to over Ksh.3 million (about 21 million kwacha) with the family calling on well wishers to assist in offsetting the bill.

Nzakwa was the first of three wives of Gideon Kitivo Ndambuki, who died on December 13, 2000 aged 100.

The land dispute surrounding Nzakwa’s matrimonial home has been discussed at length in the courts but the declaration that she is the owner of the home has not been made.

On March 28, 2014, Justice Beatrice Thuranira Jaden declined to allow the body to be buried at her matrimonial home. She said the court could not rely on traditional customs as testimony to decide where Nzakwa’s body was to be interred.

An attempt to bury Nzakwa in 2004 flopped when one of her step-sons claimed to have consent from the Land Control Board. The consent said the home belonged to the step-son. He obtained a permanent injunction from a magistrate in Machakos.

The family, however, insisted that Nzakwa could only be buried at her home.

According to Kamba customs, the first wife is buried adjacent to her husband at their matrimonial home.

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