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Kennedy Onyango's sister sides with father as parents fight for burial rights

Mbita Law Courts is set to rule on Kennedy Onyango’s final resting place on July 17, as the family navigates the dispute.

Dennis Okinyi Abaga

Jacinta Anyango, the mother of 12-year-old Kennedy Onyango, who was killed during anti-government protests in Rongai, has accused the boy’s biological father of interfering with the burial.

Jacinta has sought President William Ruto’s intervention, stating that the head of state called her to express his condolences.

Dennis Okinyi Abaga, believed to be the boy’s father, obtained a court order stopping the burial, which was scheduled for 5th July, leading to police officers intercepting the funeral procession and seizing the body.

Speaking to the media, Velma Okinyi, the young boy’s sister, accused their mother of trying to bury Kennedy without involving their father.

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“Mum wanted to bury the body without Dad’s knowledge, but I tried very hard to inform my father. There is no way my father can lose his child and be locked out,” Velma said.

The stalemate has threatened to split the family in two, with both the mother and father having prepared separate burial arrangements.

Jacinta wanted to bury her son in Mbita, while Dennis insists that he will bury Onyango at Gwasi Hills.

Mbita Law Courts is set to rule on Kennedy’s final resting place on July 17, as the family navigates the dispute.

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According to Jacinta, Dennis was an absentee father and only became interested in the burial after learning that the government would support the family.

However, he has challenged that the boy has been living with his mother for about two years.

After the police seized the body, there was public outcry that officers were frustrating the family.

In response, the National Police Service, through the Inspector General, released an official statement clarifying the situation.

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The police denied stopping the burial and explained the circumstances that led to the interception.

"Contrary to the misleading reports circulating on social media that the National Police Service has stopped the burial of the late Kennedy Onyango in Mbita Constituency, we wish to clarify to the public that the body was released to the mother, Josinter Anyango Ochieng, for burial on July 4, 2024," the statement read.

However, upon arrival on July 5, 2024, a man named Denis Okinyi, claiming to be Kennedy’s biological father, presented a court order stopping the burial. Abaga demanded the right to bury his son, leading to further complications.

The court order, issued in Civil Suit No. 0028 of 2024 at Mbita Law Courts, mandated the police to transfer the body to Suba Sub-County Hospital Funeral Home for preservation.

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"The body was moved to Mbita for burial but upon arrival on July 5, 2024, one Dennis Okinyi Abaga claiming to be the biological father of the boy appeared with a court order stopping the burial after he demanded to bury the boy. Apparently, the Civil Suit No. 0028 of 2024 filed at Mbita Law Courts ordered the police to move the body to Suba Sub-County Hospital Funeral Home for preservation, and the OCS Mbita Police Station complied with the order," the statement continues.

The Officer Commanding Station (OCS) at Mbita Police Station complied with this order, leading to the police action that had caused the public uproar.

The National Police Service called for calm and patience from the public as the family dispute over Kennedy’s burial was resolved in court.

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