Widow's woes as she battles schemes to disinherit her

Naomi Wanjiru Mbuthu. Her life turned upside down after her husband, Eliud Ndirangu Macharia, died in 2014 in mysterious circumstances. [File, Standard]

A 48-year-old widow in Kiambu County has not known peace for the past nine years.

Naomi Wanjiru Mbuthu,, who lost her husband in 2014 has been fighting off some powerful forces from snatching over 15 prime parcels of land.

Following numerous threats, Wanjiru decided to take matters into her own hand and installed alarms to warn her whenever raiders storm her home.

She took the drastic measure after her two dogs were poisoned.

The sirens alert her neighbours every time her home in Kanunga is raided so that they can come to her aid. She said her reports to the police about invasions, in the past nine years, have never been acted on. 

At one point, a man who had assaulted her returned to her home accompanied by two police officers and attempted to abduct her eldest son, Joseph Macharia.

Wanjiru’s life was turned upside down after her husband, Eliud Ndirangu Macharia, died in 2014 in mysterious circumstances. Macharia was later buried in a controversial manner after an autopsy was conducted in the absence of his wife.

“A few weeks after my husband collapsed and died on August 30, 2014, I was summoned to court to go for a succession case. I was unprepared because I was still grieving but this marked the beginning of my troubles,” said Wanjiru.

She said that strange people started going to her home at night and would issue threats as they demanded title deeds for the various properties registered in the name of her father-in-law.

She told The Standard that two parcels of land belonging to her family had been sold using dubious titles for about Sh8 million.

On January 24, 2018, she was summoned by the local chief where she was shown a grant that had been dropped there by her sister-in-law. However, she insists that she had not in any way participated in the process leading to the issuance of the grant dated September 29, 2019. Most of the assets included in the grant, were fictitious.

However, Kanunga chief Florence Nyambura contradicted Wanjiru, saying that she had been summoned to the chief’s office five times but she did not show up.

According to the chief, the grant left in her office was accompanied by legitimate land documents and green cards and official searches at the land ministry which clearly showed how the property had been subdivided.

The chief told The Standard that one of the buyers of the disputed property had gone to her office and showed her ownership documents to prove that he was the legitimate owner of the land but when he went to fence it he was repulsed.

“I was patrolling my area one Sunday accompanied by my assistants when I was informed there was a commotion in one of the plots claimed by Wanjiru. The plot is near Kanunga Police Station. When I went there I found the land had been subdivided but Wanjiru was opposed to this.

When asked whether she was aware of Wanjiru’s involvement in the sale of assets partially owned by her late husband, the chief said that according to the grant she had seen, the widow was not entitled to the property. She offered to provide a copy of the grant to The Standard but explained she could not share it immediately as she was out of the office.

Wanjiru said that her signature had been forged to allow the sale of the disputed land, insisting that she had never attended a land board to give her consent for the sale of the prime piece of land. She produced a copy of a handwritten will showing her in-laws had bequeathed part of their land to the son, Ndirangu.

When The Standard contacted the Kiambu County Land registry about claims fresh titles had been issued to “strangers” who had disinherited the widow, a registrar, Ann Wanjiku, denied any involvement in the deals.

She said that if Wanjiru had any evidence of forgery or fraud concerning her property, she should report to the Land registry and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations so that proper probe can be conducted and the culprits punished.

Reacting to accusations that she had teamed up with the widow’s tormentors, the chief said that if Wanjiru had any complaints about crimes committed against her, she should report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

A petition written to the Director of Criminal Investigations by Huma Forensic Bureau on the widow’s behalf on August 1, this year chronicles Wanjiru’s tribulations as a result of a string of attacks on her person and property which have left her disoriented.

“The matters have been reported several times vide OB (Occurrence Book) numbers 03/14/01/2018, 24/24/03/2018, 5/14/04/2019, 442/7/201`9, 05/06/07/2020 and 25/02/2023 and p3 issued  but nothing has been done.”

On April 4, 2018, Waguthu chief Jane Gitau wrote a statement detailing how she had witnessed the abduction of Wanjiru’s son, Macharia, on November 7, 2015.

“I found three men pulling Macharia towards the road and when I asked them what he had done, they told me rudely that “atasemea mbele’ one of them said they were officers from Karuri. As we were talking, a man by the name Kimani came out of the car. I recalled that he was having an assault case at Karuri Police Station where Macharia’s, mother was the complainant. The file of the assault case has since gone missing,” said Gitau.

The chief wrote in a statement how when she demanded to know from the men claiming to be police officers why they were accompanied by an accused during the arrest, they released Macharia.

In July this year, an organisation championing the rights of the vulnerable, Come Together Widows and Orphans Organisation (CTWOO), wrote to Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki as well as the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, highlighting Wanjiru’s tribulations.

Earlier on June 24, 2021, Jacinta Nyamosi, then acting Director of Public Prosecutions, had written to the Inspector General of Police to investigate the criminal allegations Wanjiru had raised.  

“The complainant has faced serious threats in relation to properties left by her late husband. The complainant contends that her children are at high risk and they can be eliminated any time by organised criminal groups under the suspects’ command. In response, John Kariuki wrote on behalf of the DCI on June 18, 2021, advising Wanjiru to follow the matter at the County CID officer, Kiambu.