Daughter vs father, brothers.
An old family picture of Sophia Mwihaki and her mum Monica Nyambura in happier days.
Where everyone has supportive documents: daughter fights father, brothers over her mother’s property
On this chilly July morning, an emotional Ms Sophia Mwihaki walks into the office carrying hundreds of pictures of heart wrenching destruction of property. Among the pictures are demolished houses, posho mill, a palatial home, shops – such serious destruction of property.
She also carries with her heaps of letters comprising the Power of Attorney authorising her to manage her ailing mother’s property, a title deed of the demolished property and very sad letters including one written by her own father through the Commissioner of Police asking her to keep away from his wife ( her mother) and from their property).
Written at the back of the pictures are bitter words. One picture reads: “Our 40-year-old home demolished in Lanet on 14/09/09. We do not know whether we shall ever regain our land, but we are looking forward in hope that a better life awaits us in abundance. Amen.”
I look at another picture and read more bitter words written at the back by Sophia Mwihaki.
“We can only forgive the buyer and those who demolished our home so that God can open his gates of blessing upon us. Even the blessings of Abraham for we are a covenant people. 29/9/07”.
From Far Right: Mama Nyambura is visted by her sisters-law Rahab Wanjema and Monica Nyambura (her namesake) in Ndenderu.
Sophia Mwihaki told the writer that after her mother became too ill to manage her farm due to memory loss triggered by her mental illness, she went to court and obtained a power of attorney to ensure the property was not abused. Her father, she alleges, had denied her access to her mother’s farm and wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police accusing her of trespass. The letter says in part:
The Commissioner of Police, P O Box Nairobi.
DC, Kiambu East District, Kiambu East.
Re: unlawful interference/trespass by one Sophia Mwihaki.
In this letter Mwihaki’s father warns his daughter to keep off from her mother Nyambura, who is in fact his wife and Sophia’ Mwihaki’s mother.
Power of attorney
A case at the High Court in Nakuru dated February 20, 2006 MISC Civil Application No 96 of 2006 in the matters of Sections 26, 27, 28 of the Mental Act mentions Caps 248 of the Laws of Kenya in the matter of Monica Nyambura Watitu (Subject) and Sophia Mwihaki Watitu.
The court ordered that Sophia Mwihaki be temporarily appointed to be the manager of the Estate of Monica Nyambura who had been certified to be suffering from mental illness.
Loss of memory
Sophia Mwihaki’s Library of letters also reveals a letter from Medicare Clinic dated February 6, 2006 signed by a Dr AT Feksi MD, Consultant Psychiatrist gives a medical report on Monica Nyambura. It says, “At examination, she appeared restless and unable to hold attention. She exhibited a profound loss of memory for recent past and immediate presence. This condition shall continue to deteriorate even with treatment.
“The loss of memory has affected her thinking process in that she is not able to identify the type and extent of her estate. In this regard, her testimony capacity is compromised.”
I lived with my mother in Lanet from June 30, 2003 to June 26, 2010. We lived in the family home since 1965. She was running her posho mill. She had a family farm, goats, cows.
In 1974 she stood for councillor Nakuru. Her sign was a lamp. She was second among seven candidates. All was well until auctioneers came one day and demolished the property and threw their things out. This, despite a Caveat Emptor placed on Page 51 on Classifies Pages of Daily Nation dated Thursday November 19, 2009. The Caveat Emptor Read, ‘(Buyer Beware) The Number Nyandarua/ melangine 2310. Take Notice That This Property Belong To Monica Nyambura Watitu And The Same Is Subject Of a Court Order Case Nakuru HCCC No.44 of 2008 Sophia Mwihaki (Suing on Behalf Of The Estate Of Monica Nyambura Watitu vs Amos Watitu and 3 Others). Any Purchaser Shall Be Buying At Their Own Risk. Be Accordingly Advised. For Further Information Call 051-2210926. By Hari Gakinya and Co Advocates. Arcade House, 1st Floor Kenyatta Avenue, Rm 17. P.O.Box 2275-20100, Nakuru.
But one of the bitter notes behind Mwihaki’s pictures says the property was demolished on September 29, 2009. She claims over 100 youth, accompanied by auctioneers demolished the property and she and her mother had to move into the neighbours’ home for four months.
According to Sophia Mwihaki, her mother‘s health started deteriorating when her memory loss set in. She would put a kettle of tea on the fire and forget all about it. But she would visit the Post Office and collect her letters at P.O.Box 1624 Nakuru, Kenya, East Africa, a number she had memorised most of her life.
“My mother had good health and had never been admitted in hospital and she had never stayed with my father – she was at the time staying with me in a neighbour’s shop. Despite efforts to reconcile the family members, they have only grown wider apart.
Gitau Watitu, Sophia Mwihaki’s brother shows the writer “legal” documents at his home in Ndenderu.
On arrival at Mr Gitau Watitu’s home in Ndenderu on Tuesday afternoon to get his side of the story, the writer found Monica Nyambura in a wheelchair relaxing outside her one-bedroom self-contained house sitting with relatives who had come to visit. Among the relatives were Rahab Wanjema, a sister-in-law and Monica Nyambura her cousin and namesake.
Gitau, who was with his aunties dismissed his sister Sophia’s allegations and produced documents to support his side of the story. In a twist of events, Gitau, Sophia’s first born brother produced photographs of destroyed property and alleged that Sophia had used auctioneers to destroy her own father’s house in Ndunduri.
“She obtained a court order from Nakuru to evict her father and myself from the farm,” says Gitau producing documents to prove that the property was his.
Watitu alleges that his daughter sold his 25-acre farm, his tractor and posho mill and is now holding his wife’s original documents including her identity card. “Why is she holding my wife’s documents, when I am still alive and of sound mind? Let her keep as far away from my wife’s property as possible,” says Watitu, a former forester. “
In a telephone interview with the writer from Nakuru, Watitu demands that his daughter pay him back all the school fees he invested in her, especially after taking her to Kianda an exclusive secretarial college in Lavington/Kangemi. Watitu says his daughter Sophia Mwihaki owes him millions for the money he spent bringing her up as a parent and he is going to ask the court to order that she refunds him all his money.
In an interview with Reverend George Wanjema of Kimende, who is the late Monica Nyambura’s real brother, Wanjema said he is too pained to discuss what has happened to his sister and continues praying about the whole situation. But he concurs with his brother-in-law that Sophia Mwihaki has become a bad child and efforts to rehabilitate her back into the family has been fruitless. “Let her leave my sister alone so we can take care of her. She kept my sister away from me for ten years and brought her back in bad shape.” Says Rev. Wanjema.
What is amazing about the whole story is that everybody has supportive documents to from the law courts, Powers of Attorney, title deeds, the auctioneers, different hospitals in different parts of the country including Kenyatta National Hospital, receipts of hospital bills, each showing it was the other party taking care of the mother and deserved to keep her property. Although Mama Monica Nyambura died several months ago, the battle for her property continues.
Sophia Mwihaki alleges that her brothers and her father denied her access to her mother while she was alive and the chance to take good care of her mother in her last days. At one point, Sophia Mwihaki had to get police escort to visit her ailing mother at her brother Gitau’s house. “I would have bathed her wounds, soothed her bed sores, massaged her, encouraged her and made her her favourite meals. I would have prayed with her as she prepared for her death.” Says a weeping Sophia Mwihaki. Gitau dismisses this as untrue. “It is Sophia Mwihaki who hid the mother from the family for many years and denied the entire family access to Mama Nyambura. When Sophia Mwihaki, took away mother without our knowledege, mother was well and could walk and talk. But when she brought back mother, eight years later, mother was in shambles and in an unbelievable poor state of health!” Sophia Mwihaki’s younger brothers, Njenga and Muiruri who live in Nakuru refused to be drawn into the story but reluctantly admitted that there had been serious family problems. Sophia Mwihaki is an only daughter among four siblings.
Mwihaki says she hopes justice will prevail and that she will get a fair share of her mother’s estate. Meanwhile she mourns what she terms “my mother’s preventable and unnecessary early death”. And she vows to fight to the bitter end.