Kenya: Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his estranged wife Josephine Thitu Maundu are entangled in a dispute over custody of their three children who are currently residing in Australia.
Mutua wants the court to direct his wife to return their three children into the country.
Mr Mutua alleges that he and Thitu are still husband and wife but on November 5, she secretly flew the children from the country to an unknown destination in Australia.
Through his lawyer Mugambi Laichena, he wants the court to issue an order directing Kenyan Ambassador to Australia to assist in bringing back the three children and ensure that peace prevails during the process.
He also wants the court to restrain Thitu’s relatives, friends, tenants and employees from entering, accessing or interfering with his matrimonial properties at Westlands in Nairobi, Mavoko and Matathani homes in Machakos County pending hearing and determination of the suit.
He claims that he was informed that some of his wife’s relatives, accompanied by human rights activists, were trying to force their way into the properties.
“The respondent’s behaviour has caused me a lot of psychological torture, pain, anguish, harm and embarrassment and even damaged my status in public,” he states in the affidavit filed at Milimani Law Courts.
Mutua says some of Thitu’s relatives were claiming that it is not his house and he should therefore not interfere with the property. He says that on November 8, he reported the matter at Spring Valley Police Station so that police could commence investigations.
Mutua says that he is convinced that the interest of the children’s right and responsibility belongs to all parents and his wife cannot therefore be allowed to run away with the children without his consent.
He argues that he has been paying his children’s school fees at St. Mary’s School and Montessori School and he therefore does not want them to be away from him.
“I am a man of means and I am ready to cater for all the transport and any financial requirement to bring back my children,” said Mutua in the affidavit.
Thitu, in her response, says that she is shocked that Mutua alleges she took away the children secretly as if to imply they lived together yet Mutua abandoned them in 2012 and is now living with another woman.
She says Australia is their second home having lived there on and off since 2000.
The woman also says their twin children are permanent citizens of Australia having been born there in 2009 while their first born has a permanent residency.
She says she had to travel to Australia because their permanent resident visa was to expire on November 20 and they would have been barred from entering that country.
Thitu, who is represented by Elizabeth Mungai, says that Mutua has no capacity to have custody of the children because he lives with another woman, a fact that is broadcasted even in the Machakos County website.
She denies that she left the country without the intention of ever returning, noting that Kenya is her home and that she has elderly parents as well as siblings.
She wants the court to direct Mutua to remove security he has placed at their properties that are under her name.