Court stops Kilifi woman’s burial after ‘husband’ sues over dowry

Monday July 13 2020

Relatives of Dorothy Murichwa Mwamye weep on July 10, 2020 after her burial in Chonyi, Kilifi County after a court order sought by a man who claimed to have been her husband. PHOTO | CHARLES LWANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The planned burial of a 48-year-old woman in Ziani village, Chonyi in Kilifi County last weekend turned dramatic after a man alleging to be her husband obtained a court order restraining the interment, claiming that he had paid dowry for her.

The family of Dorothy Murichwa Mwamuye, who died on July 1, was forced to stop burial arrangements even after preparing the grave.

This was after Mr James Orwaro, who claimed to have married the woman, moved to a Kilifi court to stop the burial. He said it was improper for his “wife” to be buried in her parents’ home yet he had paid a Sh80,000 dowry.

“That a temporary injunction be, and is hereby issued, restraining the defendants from alienating, confiscating or removing from the morgue, arranging burial or interring the body of Dorothy Murichwa Mwamuye at Chonyi in Kilifi County or any other manner dealing with the said body pending inter partes hearing of the application,” states the court order.


When journalists visited the homestead, the family had covered the grave with iron sheets with a banana trunk inside as per the cultural beliefs “to avoid inviting another death into the family” after the court injunction was served.


However, the dead woman’s father, Mr James Mwamuye, told journalists that his daughter was not married and nobody had paid dowry for her.

“I was supposed to bury my daughter on Saturday but a man that I do not know brought a court order stopping us from resting her. I have never seen the man or even met his parents,” Mr Mwamuye said.

Ms Eunice Mwamuye, the dead woman’s mother, said that she learnt about Mr Orwaro last Friday when police arrived at her homestead to serve them with the court order.


The grave which had bee prepared for the burial of Ms Mwamuye in Kilifi County. PHOTO | CHARLES LWANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


“This man, whom I have never seen in my life, came here with a contingent of armed police officers, stopped the burial arrangements and claimed he was my daughter’s husband,” she said.

But Ms Regina Mbeyu, a sister of the dead woman, said she knew Mr Orwaro and that her sister had gone through a lot of sufferings in his hands to an extent of running away with three children, one of which she sired with the man.

“We want proof to the claim that he paid a dowry of Sh80,000 to my father as there is no evidence,” she said.

At the same time, her brother, Mr Evans Mwamuye, said he first met Mr Orwaro in 2013 who claimed that he was a GSU officer and that his sister discovered the truth in 2018 after they parted ways.

“He is just after property left behind by our sister and I only know him as a friend of my late sister. He was not her husband since it was like a come-we-stay arrangement but not a recognised marriage,” he said.