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October 23, 2017

Mother chased away from burial of her four kids crushed by lorry

The public and the Sonko Rescue Team hold prayers for the four children at Motemarabu center on Tuesday after burial was postponed /MANUEL ODENY
The public and the Sonko Rescue Team hold prayers for the four children at Motemarabu center on Tuesday after burial was postponed /MANUEL ODENY

The mother of the four Migori children who were crushed to death at night by a lorry was chased away yesterday from their burial.

The four — John Magaiwa, 15, Elizabeth Robi, 13, Paulina Boke, 10, and Vincent Murimi, 7, are from the same family. They died on September 28, when the driver of a lorry transporting sand lost control at 11pm and crashed into their house. One child Colleta Nchagwa survived.

The burial had been postponed twice because of family disputes.

The mother, Margaret Mugusu, 45, separated from her husband Gikumi Murimi. She said the husband physicially abused her and she needed a fresh start in life. She sold boiled and roasted maize to fend for her children. 

Unfortunately, the children she loved were buried in her absence, her husband’s family accusing her of “leaving our son”.

The accident occurred at Mabera centre in Kuria West subcounty, where Mugusu lived with the children after she ran away from her home.

The first funeral ceremony was scheduled for Monday in Masurura village, where neighbours, Catholic faithful and well-wishers, touched by Mugusu’s plight, had bought land and built a house for her.

“We had planned to have the burial here on Monday, but so much tension from the family made us move the burial to the father’s village in Motemorabu,” John Chacha said, standing near the new house.

They considered insecurity and fear of attack on Mugusu and her family, before they set the date.

“The family is accusing the mother of deserting her home and separating from her husband,” he said.

On Tuesday, both families — Mugusu’s and Murimi’s — agreed to take the bodies from Akidiva Mortuary in Migori town and have them interred on the same day. The plan was shelved at the last minute.

The Sonko Rescue Team funded by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko cleared Mugusu and daughter Nchagwa’s medical bill. Mugusu was treated for shock. The team also paid the mortuary bill and funeral expenses. Equity Bank officials from Migori branch visited the family and donated Sh35,000.

A Sonko Rescue Team hearse brought the bodies. Mourners broke down in tears. They expected the burial to go on, only to be told it had been rescheduled. The bodies sent back to the mortuary.

Catholic priest Jackton Ombima said well-wishers, journalists and the Sonko Rescue Team were shocked when the burial was yet again postponed to Wednesday [yesterday].

Family spokesman Francis Chacha said, “According to the Kuria culture, the bodies of the four will spend the night at their father’s homestead because they have been away from the family for long. Thank you for coming, but the burial will be on Wednesday.”

Sonko Rescue Team leader Swaleh Mbuvi said, “We’ve been here since Sunday night, expecting to have the burial, which has been postponed several times by the family. We’ll leave after ensuring the bodies are moved from the morgue.”

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