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Jacob Ocholla and 'JNL' claim that Mwai Kibaki was their father

Jacob Ocholla Mwai during a previous interview with The Standard. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The wealth left by former President Mwai Kibaki might be subject to a court battle with two people filing objections for the executors to be granted authority to manage the estate as per his Will.

On August 11, 2022, a gazette notice was published notifying Kenyans that the court would proceed to grant Kibaki’s three children who he had appointed as executors of his Will powers to administer the estate and make distribution of inheritance to beneficiaries as per his wishes. The window for any persons to challenge the same was 30 days.

Following the gazette notice, a woman codenamed JNL filed an application before the family court arguing that she feared that the succession process would proceed without her being recognized as a Kibaki’s daughter and involving her as a beneficiary. In her application, she claims that she attempted to access the documents filed in court but it was allegedly impossible.

“The applicant being a daughter and beneficiary in the estate is very apprehensive that she stands to have all her inheritance rights under the constitution infringed upon unless she is supplied with all the relevant pleadings and supporting documents,” JNL’s court papers read in part.

JNL narrates that she was born in 1961. According to her, her mother and the late Kibaki met while they were both students in the United Kingdom in late 1950s. In her court papers, she refers Kenya’s third president as ‘’my father’’. She states her mother was studying hygiene and tropical medicine while Kibaki was a student of economics and political science.

“I have been informed by my mother, whose information I verily believe to be true that when I was born…my father was aware and came to visit me as a child in hospital,” she claims.

According to her, Kibaki’s children know her and have interacted with her since 1968. She states that she schooled in the same institution as Judy Kibaki, Jimmy Kibaki and David Kibaki.

“The deceased is my biological father and hence I am a beneficiary and a dependent under section 29 (a) of the law of succession Act and entitled to a share in the net estate of the deceased. My father recognized me as his biological daughter and we met severally in different private and public functions and ceremonies,” JNL says.

Former President Mwai Kibaki. [File, Standard]

She accuses the executors of the will of failing to seek her consent and failing to supply her with documents filed in court.

JNL states that she knows that the former president left a will dated December 23, 2016.

“ I have read the contents of the nine clauses of the will and noted that I have been left out of the well despite being a beneficiary and or a dependant,”she states.

In her application, she claims that she had tried to involve a Catholic Church bishop to have Kibaki’s four children meet for a possible out of court settlement. 

“In recognition of the familial relationships, I made efforts on numerous occasions to reach out to the petitioners multiple times with a view of finding a resolve the succession cause amicably,” says JNL, adding that her efforts were in vain.

A second objector is Jacob Ocholla Mwai. He too claims to be a child of the former president. Ocholla had initially filed a succession case of Kibaki’s estate in Nyeri. The 62-year-old man wants the court to compel the Kibaki family to recognize him as the first born son and give him an equal share of his vast wealth.

In his case before Nyeri High Court, Ocholla claims that Kibaki acknowledged that he was his biological father.