The dead tell no tales, but not in Shinyalu

Thursday, July 6th, 2023 00:00 | By

The adage that the dead tell no tales has come to haunt police and a village in Kakamega after the body of a woman who had been missing for more than a week was recovered following revelations of its whereabouts in a dream.

The bizarre incident has reopened the age-old debate on whether dead people have the capacity to communicate with the living and the relevance of “their messages” to those they may have spoken to.

As villagers ponder on the dream which they say could be a testament to the dead person’s wish for a decent burial as well as a determination to have her killers face justice, police have found themselves in a dilemma over whether to treat the person whom the revelation was made to as whistle-blower or suspect.

The family of Clement Musonye was grieving after their loyal worker was found murdered and her body buried in a maize plantation at their home in Mukulusu, Shinyalu constituency.

For several days, the family had been left in suspense and anxiety after she went missing, as searches in all corners of their farm and homestead, as well as the entire village, yielded nothing.

A family member, Constance Musonye, however, helped unravel the mystery after she insisted the deceased, Elizabeth Minayo, had appeared to her in a dream informing her that she had been buried on their farm.

She is also said to have informed Constance in a dream that her killers were from within the homestead.

“After we had been informed that Mama Minayo had gone missing on Wednesday, June 28, we immediately informed the area assistant chief and police.

A search party was mounted which took them to all corners of Shinyalu and its environs with no success,” Constance, an employee of the Kakamega Golf Hotel, narrated to the People Daily.

She added that on Saturday night she encountered the deceased in her dream in which she told her that she was dead and buried in a maize plantation at their home.

Constance says that at first, she ignored the dream because she does not believe in superstitions.

Local administration

“But she reappeared again on Sunday night and insisted that we search the maize farm. I became more convinced and forced to inform family members and the local administration. That is when we stumbled on the shallow grave in our home,” she said.

Mukulusu Assistant Chief Julius Mukhala said they were equally shocked because they had searched around the compound but never noticed anything queer on the farm.

“The family helped us form a huge search party which failed to find the late until Monday following information from Cony (Constance) that she had encountered her in a dream,” he said.

The assistant chief and local elders defended Constance’s dream, insisting that such revelations were common in the past where the dead made their wishes known to their living kin through dreams.

“After all, haven’t we heard some people say that those who’ve died might be watching the living? Or that our dead ancestors can pass on guidance and wisdom to help us in our lives?” Mukhaya quipped.

Mukhala pointed out that many people feared making public the contents of their dreams on the grounds that they could be held culpable.

Shinyalu police boss Bernard Ndege said they had arrested three suspects, including a grandson of Mzee Musonye, who is a form three student at a secondary school in the constituency.

“We have three suspects in our custody whom we intend to arraign in court any time this week once we are through with our investigations,” he said.

Ndege said their investigations zeroed on the three suspects as they had on various occasions threatened the deceased.

“They are known truants in the area with their main preoccupation being gambling, drinking, smoking and abusing drugs.

They have always threatened the lady accusing her of preventing them from accessing property at the home to sell,” he said.

He pointed out that their investigations had exonerated Constance, though they may need to record a statement from her.

“I have not encountered cases where missing dead people reveal their whereabouts but I just heard about them.

In fact, we had given up on the search but Constance insisted that the deceased’s spirit was bothering her,” added the police boss.

Tragic death

CECAFA Secretary-General Nicholas Musonye said his family was devastated by the tragic death as the deceased had served them diligently for over seven years.

“I am yet to come to terms with this tragic incident because Mama Minayo was our very loyal and trusted servant. She is the one who takes care of the entire family home as most of us stay elsewhere,” he told the People Daily.

The elder Musonye said they would conduct traditional rites to appease the late woman’s spirit and starve off evil spirits from his home.

According to local elders, such rites would include slaughtering an animal, preferably a cow or sheep. A banana trunk would also be planted in the shallow grave and some soil taken away and placed in her final resting place at her home in Shing’oto village about twenty kilometres away.

“Cases of dead people appearing to members of their families or friends have existed over the years. I have, for instance, witnessed incidents where people claimed their dead kin or friend was somewhere and when we went there we found the bodies,” said Thomas Aseka, a retired chief from the area.

“Some families are even forced to exhume and rebury their kin following disturbances. We just had a case a few weeks ago where a family was forced to organise a bull-fighting contest to appease the restless spirit of their father which was tormenting them and making some run mad. They got healed immediately after the event,” he added.

“Whether such revelations still exist is subject to debate,” the assistant chief added.

The deceased’s body is lying at the Kakamega County Hospital Funeral Parlour while the suspects are locked up at the County Police Station.

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