Kibaki family, two others given more time to end dispute

Former President Mwai Kibaki and Jacob Ocholla Mwai. [File, Standard]

Former President Mwai Kibaki’s family and two people claiming to be his children have been granted more time to negotiate for a settlement in a succession case.

Justice Fred Ogola of the Family Court in Nairobi had initially  given Kibaki’s children three months to strike a deal with Jacob Ocholla Mwai and an unidentified woman to end the court battle.

However, the parties told the judge that they were yet to reach a settlement.

At the heart of the negotiations is whether Kibaki’s children - Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy, Kagai and Githinji will recognise the woman and Ocholla as their siblings, and how much each should get as Kibaki had outlined how his wealth would be shared.

When the case came for mention, the family asked for more time.

The judge said if the parties do not agree, then the court will hear applications to exhume Kibaki's body for DNA, which Ocholla is seeking, and a second application to subject the four children to a paternity test as requested by the woman.

It also emerged that Jimmy has hired Muriu Mungai Advocates to represent him in the case. The law firm filed its notice of appointment on August 10. The rest of the siblings have retained Coulson Harney LLP as their law firm.

Initially, Ocholla’s lawyer Morara Omoke had asked the court to set a hearing date for his bid to exhume the body.

The 63-year-old asserted that he was Kibaki’s firstborn son. To prove his argument, Ocholla attached a report prepared by Dr Zakayo Limili, a human pathologist who stated that Ocholla’s and Kibaki’s phenotypic features suggested that the two are related.

According to Limili, both their noses, foreheads, eyelids and lips resemble. Further, in his report dated January 19, Limili claimed that the cheekbones and cheeks of the two men as well as their eye contact and blinking are similar.

“The similarity assessment by analysing phenotypic features suggests that Jacob Ocholla and Mwai Kibaki are related,” he stated.

Limili’s document was filed as part of a reply to the Kibaki children’s argument for the dismissal of Ocholla’s application.

In his will, Kibaki had stated that Wanjiku, Jimmy, Kagai, and Githinji are his only children and heirs.

On August 11 last year, a gazette notice was published notifying Kenyans that the court would proceed to grant Kibaki’s three children, whom he had appointed as executors of his will, powers to administer the estate.

They were also to make distribution of inheritance to beneficiaries as per Kibaki’s wishes.

The case will be mentioned on February 29.