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Woe for prominent men as the fatherless pursue their roots

By By MOSES MICHIRA | August 24th 2013


A horror-like incident that happened six years ago that involved the exhumation of the body of a former top civil servant left a village dazed. The clergy administering the second burial taking place 17 years after George Matheka died and buried, was lost for words as he tried to plead for calm among mourners. Mr Matheka had not resurrected but his spirit had been disturbed, mumbled the reverend.

Grave diggers got down to work tearing apart the marble tomb where remains of Mr Matheka, a former education PS, had been interred in 1990 after a High Court order that sought to prove paternity claims by Eric Muthui, then 40-year old.


Justice Kalpana Rawal, now deputy chief justice, had given the orders in a suit whose subject has been replicated hundreds of times since.

Wealthy businessmen and top politicians are often defendants with applicants’ demands ranging from getting a share in the inheritance to mere recognition.

The circumstances under which Mr Muthui, now 46, was born could be the similar to 32 year-old Ruby Karimi who is demanding paternal recognition from former assistant minister John Keen.

Ms Karimi claims that it was her constitutional right to know who her biological father is, but also demands that the prominent politician pays for her upkeep and finances her college education. In one of her attempts to seek financial support from the former Kajiado North MP, she was kicked out of his Karen residence, an incident that left her feeling ‘homeless rejected, dejected’ as she told the court.

But before Ms Karimi, advocate Roy Kiarie had sought the help of the High Court in having Senator Kembi Gitura recognise the 41-year old as one of his sons.

That was last month, July. Mr Kiarie claims that the only thing he wanted form Gitura, a former ambassador, was recognition and the right to adopt the Murang’a senator’s name as his surname. Though the court declined to grant Mr Kiarie’s plea for a DNA test, Mr Gitura’s colleague at the Senate the late Mutula Kilonzo was not as lucky.

Samples were taken from Mutula’s body for DNA testing to determine whether he had fathered a grandson to one of his herdsmen. In early May, 23-year old Eunice Nthenya stunned the country when she claimed that Mutula, who died under mysterious conditions in his ranch on April 27, was the biological father of her son.

While the age of the mother to Mutula’s supposed son raises disturbing questions on how old she was when she gave birth to her child who is now seven years old, little else has been heard since the late senator was buried. But it is the case of the late George Saitoti, Mr Keen’s successor as Kajiado North MP that is perhaps the most baffling of all paternity suits that are yet to be determined. Saitoti’s family is accused of stealing Mr Zachary Musengi from his parents, Sebastian Maina Nguju and Elizabeth Njeri – both is their 50s.

Mrs Saitoti allegedly abducted Musengi, 28, in 1988 from their Subukia home and his supposed parents got to see him at the funeral of the late vice president who died last year in a plane crash.

Parental suits

Mr Nguju has moved to court demanding a DNA test to confirm fathering his long-lost son but Zachary has declined to have the samples taken from him for examination, saying that the Saitotis were the only parents he has ever known.

A short-lived out of court settlement had been reached to the relief of Saitoti’s widow before Nguju disowned the consent, claiming that his lawyer representing him in the parental suit had been dishonest. Mr Nguju’s latest word on the case was, ‘I will never give up the fight to have my son back’.

The parental suits relating to the two former Kajiado North MPs have much in common, only they are mirror opposites.

Mrs Saitoti who is the defendant in the suit however insists that the two families reached a settlement on the matter but the details of the deal have been scanty. But it is not just the Saitoti whose family is in distress because of paternity matters. His former cabinet colleague Njenga Karume was drawn into a suit where Mr Edwin Thuo demanded to be included in the rags-to-riches billionaire’s will.

Thuo, 47, suffered a major blow when he moved to court seeking to stop the burial of the former defence minister before the paternity suit had been heard and determined. The High Court declined to grant his pleas citing that he had earlier been compensated Sh5 million to drop all charges while Mr Karume was alive.

Then came the shocker, when the family of another politician-turned-billionaire sought to block the youngest brother from the inheritance of their late father’s vast estate.

The elder siblings had sought DNA testing to confirm the paternity of their 13-year old brother as an illegitimate child, when it turned out that the suspected teenager was actually fathered by the late billionaire while half of the applicants had different fathers. But it is not only men of means who have been dragged to court to prove their innocence in having played an active role in parenting.

In February this year, a house help moved to a Nairobi court claiming that a man of the cloth Catholic priest father Josephat Mweu Mwanzia of Nyeri’s St Joseph Parish had fathered her son but had lately declined her child support.

The house help had sought the court to order that a DNA test be conducted to establish that the priest was the biological father, and therefore obliged to offer financial support for her child.

Separately, senator Moses Wetangula and former minister Fred Gumo have been sued to provide financial support for their ‘other’ children in different suits before court.

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