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ELECTION 2022

Ethiopian Airlines tragedy: Man and daughter in vicious fight over wife’s death certificate

NATIONAL
By Kamau Muthoni | Mar 3rd 2022 | 3 min read
Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in this March 11, 2019 photo. [AP]

The High Court in Nairobi has declined to intervene in a battle between a man and his daughter over the death certificate of his wife. Henry Macharia sued the Attorney General and the Foreign Affairs PS in the hope that he would get his late wife Julia Mwashi’s death certificate.

Mwashi, the mother of his daughter Ivy Nduta, died in an Ethiopian Airline crash in 2019.

Mwashi was on board the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Boeing 737-8 Max from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport en route to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The plane crashed shortly after take-off at Bishoftu on March 10, 2019, killing all the passengers and crew on board.

Macharia said he required the document for a case he filed against Boeing in the US. But Justice James Makau found that Macharia had not proved his case against the two – Attorney General and the Foreign Affairs PS – as his daughter Nduta had objected to him getting the document.

“They are ready and willing to release the death certificate once provided either with a consent from the petitioner (Macharia) and the interested party (Nduta) identifying the person(s) to whom to release the death certificate or a certified order of Court identifying the person(s) to whom the death certificate ought to be released to,” ruled Justice Makau.

According to Macharia, he is entitled to have the document, being the widower. He claimed he had repeatedly approached the Foreign Affairs office in vain. The AG told court the man and his daughter had verbal altercation several times in the PS’ presence on who was entitled to the certificate.

The court heard that they were advised to come to an agreement and file a written consent but they did not.

Macharia was also opposed to his daughter getting the document. It emerged that he had also filed another case seeking to block his wife’s burial before a Kiambu court.

Nduta opposed her father’s case. She narrated that by the time her mother died, she had parted ways with her father.

She argued that the dispute between them was purely a family law issue and not a constitutional one.

According to her, the Foreign Ministry was to ensure that all the victims were buried and was to keep the original death certificates of all persons who perished in the aeroplane.

She narrated that the document could only be handed over to whoever the court said was the rightful administrator of the deceased’s estate. 

Despite stating that they were three siblings, all born from Macharia and Mwashi’s marriage, Nduta claimed the union was characterised by countless bouts of physical violence, verbal and emotional abuse, alcoholism and substance abuse.

She blames her father for the violence.

In her case, Nduta recalled spending long nights listening to her father persistently abusing and beating up her mother after returning home drunk. 

“The situation persisted to the point the deceased could not take any more, as it was damaging the upbringing of her children and she ran out of excuses as to why she was limping and had a black eye form a previous night of violence meted on her by the petitioner. At this point the union had broken down beyond redemption,” she claimed.

Nduta said her mother moved out in 2010 and started life a new. She described Mwashi as a hardworking woman who toiled for her children with the help of relatives, who would help baby-sit her young children whenever she was busy working to fend for her family.

She said after the two parted ways, her father was never there for her mother and three siblings. Nduta claimed he only showed up after her death. According to her, Macharia was fighting to have the death certificate only to get compensation from Boeing.

 

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