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Who is my dad? Two families fight over girl, 17, in Kakamega

By Simon Oyeng' | November 27th 2020
Julia Masitsa, grandmother to 17-year-old Joan from Tomasi village who is at the centre of a row over her biological father pitting two families from Bukhaywa and Tomasi villages in Lurambi in Kakamega County. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Two families from Bukhaywa and Tomas Villages in Lurambi constituency are fighting over the paternity of a 17-year-old girl.

For the past one week, Joan, not her real name, has faced emotional distress as the paternity wars escalates.

A family in Tomas village believes their son, Amos Murwa, is the father of the teenager, claims refuted by the second family.

Julia Masitsa, the woman who claims to be the minor’s grandmother, told The Nairobian that Murwa fathered the girl in 2002.

Masitsa says her family conducted some Luhya traditions and rites on the girl, including naming and shaving her hair, which meant she belonged to their family.

“This is my granddaughter and it is my son who sired her. In our traditions, the mother usually takes a child to the father’s family who shaves the child and even gives him or her a name from the family lineage. If the child was not my blood grandchild, she would have died or developed complications after the rites we performed on her but the fact that she is alive means our ancestors are happy with her,” argued Masitsa.

She claimed her son paid one head of cattle as bride price to the family of the mother of the child and that questions regarding the paternity of the child could be a sinister motive meant to soil the family’s name.

She challenged the other family claiming paternity of the girl to foot the DNA costs in case they insisted on taking custody of the teen.

“We have been with her since the day she was born, the father has schooled her all this while. It’s the mother of the girl who is bringing this confusion, they must foot the DNA expenses,” added Masista.

On the other hand, the family of the late Stephen Mulinya, from Bukhwaya, insists Joan is the deceased's biological daughter.

The family claims the teenager was born months after her dad had died.

Speaking to The Nairobian, Martha Amabwa claimed that the mother of the girl had confided in her that the form one student is her granddaughter.

“They are lying by saying that they performed the rites of shaving her hair. The girl’s hair was shaved at her mother’s maternal home. This is my son’s child, they used to mistreat the girl, which prompted her to run away and seek refuge in my home, which is equally her paternal home,” claimed Amabwa.

“The girl could not keep up with the pain and torture she faced in Tomas village, every time those people reminded her that she was a stranger. It worsened to the point she was chased from the house and later went to stay in Nairobi with her mum before coming here,” she added.

Her sentiments were echoed by Joan, who told The Nairobian that she was subjected to untold suffering while staying in Tomas village.

According to her, the girl’s mother, Eunice Vulinda is currently married to someone else in Nairobi. Vulinda was reluctant to discuss the topic.

“The chief is aware of all that is happening, you can reach out to him for a comment,” she said.

The girl says the man she knew as her father would flog her mercilessly for no apparent reason.

“At one point in March this year, I had to spend the night in a sugarcane farm after he chased me from the house. He said I should look for my real dad,” stated Joan.

Joan added that when the family in Tomas village realised that she had gone to her grandmother’s home in Bukhaywa, police officers were sent to arrest her grandmother for kidnap.

“I told them that my mother had revealed to me that my biological father was Stephen Mulinya, who I never saw because he died before I was born,” Joan said.

The fight pitting the two families has attracted the attention of Kambiri Sub-location Chief Caleb Natiri. He said a meeting on Dec. 7 will resolve the issue.

“There was a time a family from Tomas village reported that their child had been kidnapped. When we investigated, we found the girl in Bukhaywa village and she informed us that she was her home. We have since informed the mother of the girl of the meeting as it's only her who can tell us the truth,” stated Natiri.

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