Maggero Cremation: Lawyer Hired In Desperate Last Minute Bid

Odero contemplating maggeros cremation 

A group of Kenyans have hired a lawyer to try and push forward the funeral of Mr. James Wuod Maggero until his relatives could arrive in Sweden to participate in the process. Anna Von Perner, the lawyer, has already taken contacts with the relevant Swedish authorities to try and push the funeral forward. She has taken contact with the family of the late Maggero, the Church, crematorium and other government agencies to explore possibilities of how she can help.

According to the lawyer, the contacts she has so far talked to have promised that they could delay the cremation although they said that the Friday church service cannot be delayed and will have to continue. She has been unable to take direct contact with Maggero’s wife although she has spoken to Maggero’s daughter Hellen who was at a meeting held on Wednesday by Kenyans to discuss the crisis.

The family has not responded to requests at the meeting that the funeral be delayed until Maggero’s family members could arrive, that the cremation of the body be delayed until friends can pay their last respects and that Kenyans be granted an opportunity to mourn the old man.

An affidavit sent by Maggero’s family in Kenya said that the family has been unable to travel because information about Maggero’s death reached them on the 9th of January giving them very little time to organize to travel to Sweden to attend the funeral scheduled for Friday January 12th.

The affidavit added that Maggero’s family in Kenya has nominated two people to represent them at the burial. The issue has generated a free flow of cultural emotions especially among the Luo community in Sweden who do not see any big problem in extending the burial date with at least one week for Maggero’s family to arrive in Sweden to attend the event.

The big issue is not how the family would like to conduct the funeral or what Mr. Maggero said about his burial but the exclusion of members of his family from the process, a tactic that has also led to the side-lining of basic Luo burial cultures like viewing of the body by relatives and friends who knew Mr. Maggero and time out to congregate and mourn the departed collectively.

However, the most serious issue is also the plan to cremate Mr. Maggero’s body on grounds that this “was his wish” without production of evidence to support the wish. A will that was supposed to clear the issue and which Maggero’s wife confirmed in writing that she had deposited at the Kenyan Embassy appear to have provided false hopes because when the Embassy was contacted, Mr. George Kinywa, the First secretary, said that the institution did not have the will and that it has not been deposited at the Kenyan Embassy. The diplomat said that Maggero’s wife had visited the Embassy but only to inform them that the Kenyan had passed away.

Many Luo’s believe that if Maggero had left a will that his body be cremated or buried in Sweden, it could have been pointless trying to question the manner in which the body was to be disposed of.

The failure to announce Maggero’s death immediately to friends and family members in Kenya and the fact that it was the intention of the family to conceal this information has fuelled suspicions that something is not correct. While friends in Sweden and family members at home were kept in the dark, contacts in India with links to Maggero’s family in Sweden got mail speedily that he had died.

On Wednesday, Maggero’s daughter said that people are coming from Geneva and London to attend the funeral so why can’t people also come from Kenya? This is the crux of the matter because Maggero’s family in Kenya has said that they have already nominated two people but they don’t want to come only to find that the funeral is over. It is not about the struggle over a dead body as some miscreants believe.

When he died, key friends and well known confidants of Maggero were all weeded out of the information arena and even his closest Swedish friends sitting on the Board of the Kenya Swedish Friendship Association (Kesfa) were left swimming in a huge pool of “zero information”.

The funeral is now being hurried and there is no room for Maggero’s close relatives to travel from Kenya to be present at his final send-off. When Kenyans organized a meeting to discuss the strange circumstances, the family of the late sent two representatives to declare the meeting “illegal” but they were quickly attenuated.

Critics cannot understand the explanation that the long delay in releasing news about Maggero’s death was based on the impact of shock and devastation because during this period, elaborate plans to cremate Maggero’s body on Friday the 12th without informing his relatives in Kenya were already complete. Three hours after information swept Stockholm that Maggero had passed away, information about his funeral on the 12th were also announced meaning that during the period of information black-out, lots of activities were also rolling.

Maggero was loved by many people and regardless of what happens next, circumstances surrounding his funeral will, for ever, remain a reference point in many aspects especially on the question of burial in mixed marriages. At Vasa, a joint in Stockholm, the question on the lips of many Kenyans if Maggero is cremated is: “How do we know exactly who is next on the line and how can the new trend of kuchoma Wakenya be addressed?”

Okoth Osewe