Villagers in Nyandarua County were on Wednesday treated to a whole-day drama when a funeral was stopped due to a land dispute.
Trouble started at around midday when the body of Ms Ann Wambui was taken from Naivasha Sub-County Hospital mortuary to her home at Muti-ini wa Kenyatta village in Kinangop.
Relatives and friends were confronted with a court order stopping the ceremony, as obtained by a neighbour claiming ownership of the one-acre land where the burial was to take place.
Elders tried in vain to resolve the matter so residents staged a protest to Engineer Town to confront a lawyer hired by the complainant.
Mr John Mwangi, an elder, told the Nation that the relatives and residents were shocked by the turn of events.
He said the alleged property buyer should have consulted them before the funeral arrangements were finalised.
“We met here for about a week to console the family and make the arrangements. She was aware of the death but never raised the issue. Why wait until the arrival of the body? What does she expect us to do with the body and the grave? It's inhumane."
The elder said he was aware of the land sale deal but maintained the buyer only bought a quarter of an acre.
“We are aware the buyer took advantage of the woman's ill health and illiteracy to acquire the land. She would give her food stuff then fool her into signing the sale agreements,” said Mr Mwangi.
Ms Esther Watiri, also a village elder, also said Ms Wambui was duped into signing the land sale agreement and that the complainant bought just a quarter of the land.
“We stopped the deceased from selling an additional parcel since she had children, some of them mentally challenged,” said Ms Watiri.
The villagers vowed never to allow the buyer to settle there or to develop the land, insisting it belongs to Ms Wambui’s siblings.
Ms Hannah Wangari, the buyer, maintained that the land belongs to her and vowed that the burial would not take place.
“I paid for the one-acre land and we have a sale agreement. The sale transactions started in 2011 but a lawyer who was handling the transaction betrayed me after collecting the legal fees, claiming it was meant for the tittle deeds procurement."
She, however, declined to reveal the amount of money she paid and to name witnesses.
The family took the body back to the mortuary amid pledges by residents to help them raise funds for the legal battle.