Kenyan’s Body to be Cremated by Girlfriend in Finland as Embassy Fails to Intervene
The body of a Kenyan national is scheduled for cremation on Saturday, 13th February 2016 after the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm failed to intervene on behalf of the Kenyan’s family back home. John Githegi, the late Kenyan, passed away in Finland where he has been suffering from terminal cancer. At the time of his death, John was living with his white Finnish girlfriend who has masterminded plans to cremate his body in opposition to the wishes of John’s first wife Ruth who lives in Kenya.
Although the case was brought to the attention of the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm by KSB two weeks ago, the Embassy has failed to intervene successfully on behalf of John’s wife in Kenya. According to Ms. Salome Kagosha, the Second Counselor, the Embassy has been unable to intervene effectively because the Mission has been waiting for communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya.
Asked what the Ministry is supposed to be doing, Salome said that they are waiting for the Ministry to furnish the Embassy with relevant documents that can enable the Embassy to act. Although the family submitted copies of both John’s Passport and his national ID card to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi more than two weeks ago, Salome told KSB yesterday that they are still waiting for the documents from John’s wife. “Ruth has been slow in providing the documentation we require to push this thing faster”
When reminded that the Kenyan’s body is set for disposal by his Finnish girlfriend and that time was running out, Salome said that they were doing what they could.
“We are doing what we can. It is a little bit complicated because both of them want to bury on either side and it really depends on one side having all the money that is available to transport the body and to pay the hospital bills”, she said adding that “John’s wife is fifty-fifty, she seems like she would cooperate but her problem is she wants people to pay up all the hospital bills.
Because of ignorance of the laws and procedures operational in Scandinavia about deaths and hospital bills, the Embassy appears to have bought into the lie that there were some pending hospital bills that John’s family in Kenya needed to sort out before they could have a say in John’s funeral arrangements.
This ignorance prompted KSB to give Salome a brief lecture about how the system works, and once she got her dose of information, she made a quick retreat as she resorted to prayers. She said: “We are doing our best as I said, we are not taking everything Sophie is telling us as gospel truth, and we pray that everything will go as we would like them to”.
Another problem that this case exposes is the level of knowledge in diplomacy of Embassy staff especially among Embassy’s top brass like Salome, a Second Counselor. This is because, after a period of two weeks into the case, the Embassy had not taken any contact with the Finnish Embassy in Sweden to discuss the case. According to an official at the Finnish Embassy, they have no contact with the Kenyan Embassy over a dead Kenyan in Finland. “The Kenyan Embassy has not contacted us about this case, but if they do, we will look into it”, the official told KSB.
When KSB asked Salome why the Embassy was busy talking to individuals instead of taking contact with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Finnish Embassy in Sweden, she said:
“Let me just tell you that we are really working on this case. We are speaking with all the necessary organs in Finland and Kenya to make sure that Ruth buries her husband in Kenya. I don’t understand why you feel that we are not doing our part”, she said.
When asked whether the Embassy was aware that John’s burial date had been set, Salome sounded certain that the Embassy would intervene so that John is buried in Kenya. She said:
“Oh! Very aware. We will make sure that we do our level best so that John is buried in Kenya. As far as we are going on, most likely, this burial is going to be done in Kenya. That is the interest of Ruth because she has indicated that she wants John to be buried in Kenya, and Ruth is ours. For us, we will go by what Ruth wants”.
Very strong words from Salome! She urged KSB to check again anytime soon for progress in the case. In the meantime, the Kenyan Ambassador, Joseph Sang, ensured that he remained at large as poor Salome battled with difficult questions, sometimes guessing answers to survive in what sounded like a very difficult ordeal for our Salome. KSB left her alone because she sounded like someone who did not know what she was talking about yet she was supposed to be in charge. That is our Kenya Embassy in Stockholm!