No Justice for Baby Ryan Yet: Part 3: Suspect spotted building her house as Baby Ryan stays in Orphanage
Read Part One and Two of this Story on the Home Page and on My Blog Go Women Go. “Who did this to Baby Ryan” and “Who Will Save Baby Ryan”?
Yesterday, we paid a visit to the Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil to follow up on Baby Ryan’s story. We had agreed to leave at 6 am so we could meet the Children’s office before he left for a Wedding Ceremony. But Dorine and her stepsister Teresa showed up at Kencom Stage at 8 am. Dorine, Baby Ryan teenage mother and Teresa could not raise the Sh40 (half a dollar) from Kaloleni Estate to town. I had agreed to take care of the Day’s travel expenses and do a little shopping for Baby Ryan. Well, a neighbour finally lent them Sh40 and Dorine, Teresa, I and Transworld Journalist Mary Mwendwa took a Matatu at Nyama Kima and set off for Gilgil. Mary Mwendwa is a young Professional Media Woman under mentorship at the Media Liaison and Advocacy Centre Consultants’ Programme. We arrived at the Home at 10.45 am.
From Right: Baby Ryan, Trans World Journalist Mary Mwendwa, Dorine Odipo and her Stepsister Teresa Odipo at the Saidia Orphanage.
The handlers at the Saidia Orphanage were friendly and welcomed us warmly. We had lunch and tea and met hundreds of abandoned, neglected, sick and needy children. Baby Ryan ran and danced towards us when he saw his mother Dorine and so did the other children.
The woman who allegedly abused Baby Ryan, Evalyn Achieng’ Ouma, is at her husband’s Boniface Odipo’s home in Kajimbo Village, Nyakach. Evalyn surfaced there last week. She had gone underground after an irate mob tried to lynch her, frog-matched her to the Gilgil Police Station and handed her over to the Police. Evalyn who has been spotted at Kajimbo turned up with a lot of building materials and is doing final touches to her permanent house. Relatives suspect her husband may be around or may have sent her money for their family project.
Despite a call to a police officer in Gilgil and to the Gilgil Volunteer Children’s Officer Mr Henry Wamae, no action has been taken. Evalyn is free and on the loose as the traumatised Baby Ryan finds temporary shelter at Saidia Children’s Home.
Mr Henry Wamae, Volunteer Children’s Officer at Gilgil Children’s Department and Jane Kinuthia, Co-Founder Saidia Orphanage during the visit.
“I called my mother the moment a neighbour alerted me that my sister-in-law Evalyn was at our home. But my mother (read stepmother), said Evalyn was a new bride in her home and she could not chase her away. I called the police officer, Ms Nafula who is handling the case. I called the children’s officer Mr Henry Wamae. But nothing has happened,” says a teary Dorine Odipo.
Dorine Odipo’s story is heart-rending. It is the story of a teenage mother who had a baby at 15 while in Form Three. The family took her back to School at Tieng’re Secondary School Boarding in Kisumu County. Dorine claims she was sent home from School because she failed to clear an outstanding balance of Sh27, 000. She missed the Kenya National Examination (KNEC) Registration as a Form Four candidate. Not one to lose hope on her education, Dorine registered as a Private Candidate at the nearby District Commissioner’s Office in her Village.
Lunch hour: Dorine cries as she feeds Baby Ryan at Saidia Orphanage.
While still chasing her School fess issues at home, she got a call from Gilgil Police Station asking her to go and identify her son Baby Ryan who was a victim of child abuse. Baby Ryan had allegedly been bitten, scratched, knifed and burnt with hot oil and matchsticks and starved by Dorine’s sister-in-law Evalyn Achieng’ Ouma. The suspect had bitten Baby Ryan’s private parts and he was oozing pus and blood upon admission at Gilgil District Hospital. The P3 Form signed by a Dr Sang, Medical Officer of Health indicated the details.
Dorine comes from a large polygamous home, next to Kodingo Police Camp in Kusa, Nyakach County. Dorine’s late father had two wives. Dorine has only one brother from her mother’s house. This brother, Boniface Odipo, a KDF soldier in Somalia is Evalyn (the suspect)’s husband). The other house has 12 children. Dorine’s parents both died leaving Dorine to be raised by her stepmother. It is the same stepmother who has been taking care of Baby Ryan.
Asked why the culprit has not been apprehended, Saidia co-founder Jane Kinuthia says Evalyn needs counselling and not police arrest. “There must be something in her past that may have triggered her action, “says Kinuthia. She however admits that it is sad and unfortunate that Evalyn is at home with Dorine’s stepmother.
The Children’s Officer handling Baby Ryan’s case is said to be on leave for the last one month and will return to work on May 9th, next month. A Volunteer Children’s Officer, Mr Henry Wamae told the writer that we have to wait for the Children’s Officer to return to work. “We cannot release Ryan Brownstead from the home as he is still healing. Both mother and child are vulnerable and have no proper place to go to. But we will release Baby Ryan to his mother as soon as she is settled and can support the child.”
Although Media Liaison and Advocacy Consultants had offered Dorine a job, Wamae says this is not enough. “We must follow protocol and ensure Baby Ryan is stable. The interest of the child comes before the interest of the mother or the relatives,” a firm Wamae says.
Baby Ryan (Front Row in Navy Blue Sweater) and Mum Dorine pose for a group photo with some of his Saidia Family.
Meanwhile, Dorine has been allowed to visit her baby as often as she wants, despite the fact that she cannot raise money to travel to Gilgil.
Who will save Baby Ryan? Who will take Dorine back to School? When will justice be done so Baby Ryan’s abuser it prosecuted? Why did the police release her when she was already in their custody?
Baby Ryan in his new warm Jacket and Baby cap, poses with Saidia Manager Teresa Wahito in the Dormitory.
It was a tearful departure for both mother and child yesterday, with Dorine crying outside the gate and Baby Ryan crying inside the home. So I gave Baby Ryan a sweet as his house mother Risper carried him away. I gave Dorine a sweet too, to distract her from the sad scene. The rains pounded heavily on us as we left Gilgil and jumped into a speeding Nissan Matatu, back to Nairobi.
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.