Children follow mother’s footsteps to battle for father’s properties

Six siblings are embroiled in a court battle over 15-acre parcel of land left by their father in Njoro, Nakuru County.

Samuel Kabaiku died intestate on July 31, 1988, aged 76, and was survived by two wives, Naomi Njeri and Rahab Wanjiku and seven children.

He owned 15 acres in Ngondu farm, Njoro, four-acre parcels in Ngondu and Jawatho, 11 heads of cattle and had an unknown amount of money in accounts at KCB and Kenya Post Office.

Njeri, the first wife, and Wanjiku clashed over the property and took their battle to court in 1991.

Njeri filed a succession case before the High Court and sought grant to administer her late husband’s estate.

However, Wanjiku objected, expressing fear that Njeri would lock her and her six children out of the property.

“I have fears that my co-wife will evict me and my children from the plots we live in if she takes control of the properties,” Wanjiku said. She averred that Njeri had ill intentions when filing the succession case since she did not inform her of the same.

“Njeri lied to the court that she was the only surviving widow,” said Wanjiku. However, through interventions from the local authorities, the two signed a consent on November 24, 1997. Wanjiku, who had more children, took control of nine acres while Njeri administered six.

They agreed to share the rest of the property equally and case was marked as settled. On July 7, 2008, Wanjiku died and was survived by her six children: David Karanja, Hannah Njoki, Veronica Muthoni, Susan Wambui, Elizabeth Wangari and Eunice Wambui.

All the six agreed that their elder brother, Karanja, would take over as administrator of all the 15 acres.

However, in 2013, Hannah Njoki filed a succession case to substitute her mother as the new administrator and took over the nine acres.

Her grant was confirmed on March 3, 2015 by Justice Janet Mulwa. This did not sit well with her siblings who challenged her grant and urged the court to revoke it.

Karanja said Njoki had threatened to evict her siblings from the land and sell it.

He deposed that his sister did not inform the family before filing the case. He accused Njoki of fraudulently causing the rectification of letters of administration without informing the court that there were other beneficiaries.

Karanja said since Njoki took over as administrator, confrontations have never ended in the family. “The family has been torn apart by Njoki’s selfishness. My siblings have known nothing but fights and confrontations,” he said.

He also claimed that Njoki misused the powers to invite armed officers to the estate with intentions to intimidate the beneficiaries to share the land.

“She has her agenda to irregularly share out the entire estate at her own whims and will and exclude our rightful input in the decision,” Karanja said.

Njoki, however, said her siblings had refused to have the land shared equally.

She said they claimed that since her and her sister Wambui were married, they were not entitled to equal share of the property. She added that since her brother took over from their mother, he has refused to surrender the original title to enable the subdivision of the land.

Karanja’s application was dismissed on June 12, 2018, after he failed to prosecute it.

However, to date, Karanja has not surrendered the original title to Njoki. This forced Njoki to file an application on September 30 last year, seeking orders to compel Karanja to surrender the title.

She says she cannot divide the land without the title, and wants Justice Rachel Ng’etich to compel Karanja to release it.

If Karanja defaults, she wants the court to authorise the Registrar of Lands to issue a new title to her and cancel the one he has. On Thursday, Justice Ng’etich directed that Karanja files his response on December 10 when the case will the mentioned.