Eulogy details how the deceased died, the Chief is sacked

A section of the eulogy and left, the deceased Samson Koech

African eulogies rarely explain in detail how a loved one died. It could be from a long or short illness bravely borne, but hardly the details of wasting away in a hospital bed.

But the family of the late Samson Koech who hails from Torongo area in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County, decided to be different. They explained how he died in his eulogy.

Apparently, Koech died as a result of burn injuries after his employer poured hot kangara (substance used for brewing chang’aa) on him that fateful November 7, last year.

The eulogy read in part: The late enjoyed his good health until 7th November 2017 when he was burned by his employer with kangara (uji ya pombe). He was rushed to Eldama Ravine sub-county hospital where he was attended to and later referred to the general hospital Nakuru for special treatment from 19/11/2017 to 11/12/2017 when he was discharged.

Koech’s health improved but on December 25, worsened and he was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries around 8pm.

Koech was laid to rest on January 3, 2018 and the unusual eulogy,  the family told The Nairobian, was their only option of bringing the culprit to book. “We are still pursuing justice because authorities appear to have gone quiet. He was the last born in the family,” Benjamin Koech, one of his siblings, told The Nairobian. He added that the deceased was a hardworking, humble and God-fearing man who loved athletics.

 Koech had worked for 31 years as a casual labourer at the home of Mary Njeri, a popular chang’aa brewer in Torongo area, but on the material day, they allegedly argued over payment.

“He had been working there almost all his lifetime after dropping out of school. On that day, he asked for his pay in the evening as usual,” explained his brother, adding that, “The woman poured hot kangara  on his back, which spilled over and also burnt his chest. He cried in pain before he was rescued by the public and rushed to hospital”.

Following the incident, Benjamin said, Njeri was arrested but the matter was booked as an assault case at the Eldama Ravine Police Station under OB 42/10/2017.

Njeri was said to have gone into hiding after Koech’s demise with his family now accusing authorities of not pushing for speedy justice.

“We suspect foul play because the cause of death as indicated in the postmortem report raises more questions than answers,” another relative claimed.

Torongo area Chief Sila Mulatit was on January 5, 2018 relieved of his duties following allegations he has been shielding chang’aa brewers, but the family insists that is not enough until Njeri is arrested.

Elsewhere, a family in Kisumu has claimed that their kin who died in 2016 was a thief and not a government officer as earlier indicated.

Stephen Ochieng’s family revealed that the deceased was married with two wives and seven children.

His eulogy indicated that, “He worked with the office of registration of persons, dealing with issuance of national identification cards as the chief registrar in Migori. He was later dismissed from the job in 2012 due to some irregularities which led him being jailed for two years.” 

The eulogy went on to say that Ochieng “used to be a great farmer in his early days. Schoolmates would visit him to see his farms, but he later resorted to taking short cuts to make money.”