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Activist Caroline Mwatha to be buried in Siaya today

Saturday February 23 2019

Caroline Mwatha's mother

Anna Kathathi, mother of the late rights defender Caroline Mwatha, mourns at City Mortuary where her body was found days after she was reported missing, February 12, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Human rights activist Caroline Mwatha, who died under controversial circumstances last week, will be buried on Saturday at her husband’s home in Asembo Bay, Siaya County. 

The widower is Joshua Ochieng Oyucho, who travelled from Dubai after learning of his wife's death.

The body of Ms Mwatha, who worked with the Dandora Community Justice Centre, was transported by road to her home on Friday.

Police reports showed she died after a botched abortion, a narrative that her family and human rights groups initially disputed.

However, a post-mortem conducted last Thursday confirmed that the rights crusader bled to death during an abortion at an unregistered clinic in Dandora.


On Thursday, human rights activists and Ms Mwatha's friends and family honoured her through a two-hour candle-lit vigil at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner in Nairobi.

A memorial service was also held at the grounds.

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, politician Martha Karua and Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris were some of the high profile personalities who attended the service.

Insisting that the death was the tip of the iceberg of the hundreds that take place in Kenya as a result of unsafe abortions, activists condemned the government for “negligence and failure to establish proper structures that promote safe sexual reproductive health services”.

“As we [mourn] Mwatha, we remember the many women who die in Kenya because of unsafe abortions. We also remember other women living with life-long disabilities because of unsafe abortions,” said Evelyn Opondo, of the Centre for Reproductive Rights.


Statistics show that seven women die every day in Kenya as a result of unsafe abortions.

Houghton Irungu of Amnesty International, Kenya, said "If Mwatha was not killed by State execution, she was killed by a system that allows crude abortion clinics to exist for its failure to provide safe abortion services."

The activists also asked the government to fast-track the investigation to clear what they term discrepancies in the police report.

Ms Mwatha was a member of the Catholic Church but it distanced itself from her owing to the controversy surrounding her death.

Six people, including clinic attendants and a taxi driver, have been charged in court in connection to the death of the activist.

Police filed an application to hold the six for two weeks amid the probe.