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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Tempers flare as Nakuru tycoon is buried secretly

Our Reporter

Tempers flared up after an estranged wife of a pioneer Nakuru businessman Evans Kariuki Nathaniel hurriedly removed the body from the town’s War Memorial Hospital mortuary, and proceeded to bury his remains secretly at the Nakuru North Cemetery, much to the chagrin of  relatives of the departed trader.
Confusion, chaos and loud murmurs of condemnation reigned at the cemetery soon after Bernice Nyokabi stole the body from the mortuary at 6 am, and had it loaded into a hearse, which immediately carted it off to the cemetery for the surreptitious burial at the crack of dawn.
Scores of Kariuki’s relatives got a rude shock after arriving at the morgue at 8 am and discovered that the body had long been removed by Nyokabi for burial.
One of the most disgusted relatives was a cousin of the deceased Prof Tabitha Kanogo of the History department at the University of California, Berkeley, USA who had travelled all the way from the USA to Nakuru for the December holidays and the burial.
“Why did they do this to us? This is outrageous! Shame on them! This is callous to the extreme! Let us exhume the body so that all his sons can have an opportunity to see Kariuki’s body buried!” she thundered, boiling with anger and spitting fire and brimstones.
Prof Kanogo is the respected author of several significant history books that include the classic “Squatters and the Roots of Mau Mau” and the thought-provoking African Womanhood in Colonial Kenya, which traces the history of womanhood in Kenya, amidst social, cultural and economic changes from 1900 to 1950.
The eminent university don and author later cooled down and agreed with family members that Kariuki should be allowed to rest in peace without being subjected to exhumation.
The late Kariuki was discovered dead at his home in Nakuru’s Free Area by neighbours on December 17. He was living alone in his house as he had separated with Nyokabi many years ago.
Immediately after the incident, Nyokabi accompanied by her younger brother, son Erastus Kaiba and other relatives, entered Kariuki’s homestead after receiving information about his death, and stole his title deeds and some house belongings, before having the body removed to the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital morgue.
Relatives denounced Nyokabi for taking away the documents since she had already separated from Kariuki 21 years ago.
Nyokabi kept the stolen documents in her own custody instead of handing them over to the police.
It was a shock of the year for the relatives who turned out at the Nakuru North Cemetery for the burial, owing to the fact that they had already met the burial committee members-led by the chairman Samuel Chiira on the eve of the burial, and agreed in unison to remove Kariuki’s body at 8am the next day, and then have it officially interred in a ceremony that would stretch into the better part of the afternoon.
The meeting took place at Nyokabi’s residence located at Nakuru’s White House Estate near Kiti, shortly past State House, where consensus was reached that the burial would start from 8am.
It was also odd that the burial arrangements were being made at Nyokabi’s residence when she had already separated with Kariuki and the two were not in talking terms.
And besides, the late Kariuki had instituted civil proceedings against Nyokabi seeking to reclaim two of his prime developed plots from her, located at Nakuru’s sprawling Mwariki Estate and judgement was being awaited as the case had wound up.
But expectations of the many relatives to bury Kariuki and give him the last respects were shattered as Nyokabi described as materialistic and arrogant, devised an unbelievable scheme to secretly bury his body in an incredibly brief ceremony said to have been conducted by a hired priest.
Notwithstanding the fact that Kariuki was a God-fearing personality in his life, his remains were sadly not taken to any church for a memorial service and the usual blessings.
Nyokabi was determined to ensure that his body be buried as early as possible to keep the sons of the older wife at bay.
“Huyu Bernice Nyokabi aliharibu boma yetu 1973 na kunyakua mali ya baba yangu. Sasa ameiba mwili wa baba yangu na kuuzika kwa siri bila kutujulisha. Mambo mengine yatalipishwa na Mwenyezi Mungu “(This Bernice Nyokabi destroyed our home in 1973 and grabbed our father’s property. Now she has stolen our father’s body and buried it secretly without involving us. God will revenge all this)”, said a bitter son of the late Kariuki.
Kariuki’s first wife was Miriam Kabura whom he divorced in 1973 after Nyokabi who hailed from Elburgon from a poor family, came to the scene and started cohabiting with the late Kariuki, a rich man by any standards.
He had three children with Kabura and also had others with Nyokabi, though some of Nyokabi’s children were born out of wedlock.
Kariuki lived with Nyokabi from 1973 to 1993 but in the same year, Nyokabi deserted him after grabbing several of his properties and big money and conducting a secret and hurriedly-convened wedding at the Nakuru district commissioner’s office.
Nyokabi was operating from the deceased’s oval Nakuru Highway Studio where she is said to have appropriated her wealth without Kariuki’s knowledge.
A firstborn son of the late Kariuki and Kabura had opposed a church wedding between Kariuki and Nyokabi, which was cancelled at the eleventh hour.
However, Nyokabi held another wedding at the DC’s office as the first one had been outlawed.
Little did the late Kariuki realise that he was being tricked for a wedding by Nyokabi.
The latest antic by Nyokabi to steal Kariuki’s body from the morgue and bury it secretly, without involving many of Kariuki’s relatives, has left Nakuru town in utter shock.
Hundreds of local residents have been discussing the unfortunate event in hotels, streets and residential areas while adopting a wait-and-see attitude and, at the same time, drawing important lessons.