Who Will Save Baby Ryan – Part 2 of Who Did this To Baby Ryan?
Story and Pictures by Omwa Ombara
A crime has been committed. There is conspiracy by the Kenyan society to deny 4-year-old Baby Ryan justice. And as his teenage mother Dorine Odipo drops out of School before completing her Form Four, Baby Ryan has now found temporary shelter at the Saidia Children’s Orphanage in Gilgil. The Children’s Department, the Police, no one is willing to talk. Who will save Baby Ryan?
Baby Ryan’s mother Dorine Odipo during the interview. Who will save my baby, she pleads.
It is a wonder that Baby Ryan’s 14 aunts and uncles and other relatives never realised that the child was undergoing such inhuman torture. Dorine was called from School by Police to go and identify Baby Ryan at the Gilgil District Hospital. She told the writer: “The baby saw me and started crying. I asked him what happened. He told me he was beaten with a belt, cut slit with a knife, on the hands and forehead. He was burnt on the hands with live matchsticks. He was bitten on the right hand and uncle. The wounds were still fresh,” says Dorine. Baby Ryan’s stepmother, (Dorine’s brother’s wife who allegedly tortured him), is the wife of a Kenya Defence Force soldier currently fighting Al-Shabaab under Amison in Somalia. He is in the Paramilitary Unit.
Dorine Odipo (centre) , Step-sister Theresa Odipo and Step-brother Shem Odipo during the interview
But Baby Ryan only stayed in the hospital for three days before being released to the Saidia Orphanage. The Children’s Department is reluctant to release the baby to any member of Baby Ryan’s family.
Baby Ryan is unwell and needs treatment. He cannot control his bowels and he remains traumatised. He cries a lot and keeps to himself. Whenever a visitor goes into the home, Baby Ryan hides under the bed.
The 24-year old step-mother, who allegedly committed the crime, has gone underground. The police say they have to wait for Ryan’s uncle to come back from the war before they press charges on his wife. Meanwhile Dorine is under pressure from the family to withdraw the case. Dorine alleges that her soldier brother will not send her any more money for her School fees until she withdraws Baby Ryan’s case.
Teenage mother Dorine Odipo hopes Ryan will get justice. She has dropped out of School trying to find a way for Ryan.
But the Children’s Department and the Police will not release the Baby. The P3 form signed by the doctor is proof that Baby Ryan was tortured by a member of the family. But even if Baby Ryan was released to Dorine, she is under age and cannot support the child. Her own stepmother is the one who released Baby Ryan to the relative who allegedly abused him.
Ryan’s father who was a teenager of 17 when he impregnated Dorine, then 15 years and in Form Three is a layabout. He broke up with Dorine after impregnating her and they have not been in touch, says Dorine.
Dorine is stressed because she can no longer visit Baby Ryan. She cannot raise the Sh500 to go and see her son in Gilgil, She cannot travel back home either. She cannot raise Sh1200 to travel home. She is afraid to leave Baby Ryan behind. But she hopes and prays that someone somewhere can help her get Baby Ryan to hospital. She also hopes that one day she can go back to School. Who will save Baby Ryan?
See the original Story on Home Page – Who did this to Baby Ryan?
This Man, Najib Balala
From those early days as a young man, he stood to be conspicuous wherever he went; even as a person he has a very pleasant personality. He is handsome (what the local community called a “natural attractiveness”). From the very beginning he has never been a fundamentalist – he is seen as a moderate, educated and westernised person. Even when other Arabs were being sent to local schools his family took him to Kakamega High School. He later went to Harvard University.
At Kakamega High School, Balala related well with the institution members that were not Muslim. This is not to say that he has not been loyal to his faith. He drives his inspiration from his beads. Balala speaks fluent Luhya and loves chicken. Although his favourite food is Biriani, he has had to go slow on the dish since it is quite fattening. The former Ag. Labour Minister has special praise, almost awe when he speaks about his old school. One cannot mistake his nostalgia. “Kakamega High School taught me to be an independent thinker. To appreciate different cultures and understand that there is no difference in humanity, in diversity.”
Najib Balala is a Monday child. He was born on an early Monday morning at Kikowani in Mombasa at the Mosque. This explains why he loves Mondays. His father died before he was born having suffered from Leukemia. He has always referred to his mother as a strong woman. “She was only 30 years and never remarried. She protected us (we were six siblings, four boys and two girls). She was a very poor woman. I am very proud of her. Her upbringing is very well cultured. Her honesty is the key to our upbringing,” he told the writer in a past interview. Balala is the last born of his mother. Being poor and fatherless always inspired him to work hard and change society. He is a down to earth person who drives himself around even though he has access to a driver.
Balala, 45 is a family man and rather proud of his family. “After work, I sit with my children. If I don’t give them time, they will lose personal touch. My timing is unpredictable due to the nature of my political work so I spend quality time with my family,” he said.
He first cut his teeth is politics as Mombasa mayor and later as Mvita Member of Parliament and Minister for Tourism. From the start, his family was against his joining politics and he struggled alone.
His mantra is the need to start developing leadership that is honest and trustworthy and to have a mechanism to block leaders who take advantage of communities because they are more vulnerable and who think they can buy people. His greatest achievement is in the tourism sector where he introduced tourism as part of Corporate Responsibility and turned the economic sector around. He has never ceased to be a darling of the media since he always gives interviews without a fuss and always picks his calls even in the middle of a meeting.
He is highly respected within the Muslim community and never misses a function at the Mosque. Balala is accepted among Muslims who are rich, poor and middle class and by non-Muslims who are also of the same status. He is also said to be a darling with women who are the majority voters at the Coast. Before his sacking a few days ago, he was a bossom buddy of Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga until recently when they started following different political paths. He once described Raila as the only person who seemed to fight for the rights of Muslims.
Excerpt from a past interview. Copyright Omwa Ombara.
Margaret Jane was feeling very lonely. She wanted to die rather than live in this cruel, heartless, unlucky world. Both her female and male friends had rejected her. Every man she had dated had abandoned her. It was true she had gone overboard. Once she had dated a man for one week, she would ask them to marry her. Her married friends were cold to her since she had asked their husbands to marry her as a second or third wife . Men gossiped as much as women and word had gone round. She had become the laughing stock of Nairobi City, with men teasing each other with the words, “will you marry me?” and laughing loudly wherever she passed. They kept telling her they would get back to her after the proposal. But she never heard from them again. Most of their phones were either switched off or diverted to a woman, laughing cheekily at the other end. Friends and family no longer invited her for functions. Her visits to Pastor Ogjibani prayers at Nyayo Stadium had not yielded any fruits. She was frustrated to a point of no return. What did a man want?
What did they want her to do? She wished they could fit into her shoes to know how she felt. At 50, an MBA degree holder and a financial analyst with a leading bank in the country, she had reached the peak of her career. Yet her posh huge home in Gigiri, her Imprezza, her DSTv and every luxurious item in her home had not filled the yearning in her heart. To have a man to love and to hold. She had met Dan Mara, a young pilot with an international airline while attending a world conferences in the Netherlands. He had shown an interest in her, raising her hopes for a big wedding. The relationship had gone well that week and he had promised to buy her an aeroplane. Dan Mara had promised to come to Kenya in one month. They would take the new found relationship to the next level.
She looked at her four German Shepherd dogs and six Persian cats playing lovingly around her. She had bought them rather expensively and their meals cost her upto Kshs150,000 a month. But this was nothing compared to the Kshs 1.5 million she earned every month.
Initially she had loved her pets and talked to them daily, took them for a walk and ensured they visited the Veterinary Clinic next to the UN offices regularly. But none of her boyfriends had loved her pets and one had complained that she loved one of her cat Doughnut more than she loved him. Doughnut seemed jealous of her boyfriends and would sit on her laps, everytime she had a male guest. Margaret Jane walked around her huge quiet house, desolate. She went into her shoe room and stared at her 200 pairs of shoes. She often went to the shoe room and tried one pair of shoe after the other. It excited her. But today not even trying her new pair of high heels she had bought in the Netherlands brought her any joy. Netherlands had sad memories. She had lost her chance to get a husband at the Schippol Airport. Dan Mara had seen her off to the Departures Lounge and kissed her goodbye, promising to be with her in Kenya after a month. But after the kiss, she raised her voice at Dan Mara and asked him, “will you marry me?” “What?” Dan Mara had stopped dead in his track, surprised at this sudden proposal. “We have only known each other for a week. It would be inappropriate at this point.” Margaret Jane knew she was behaving badly, but something seemed to drive her on. She insisted, her voice getting louder. “Haven’t you heard of love at first sight?” She taunted him. “Why do you need time? Marry me now. Marry me!” Her desperate high pitched voice seemed to attract other passengers who milled around. He had suddenly turned and walked away, never turning back.
Two months had passed since her trip from the Netherlands and not a word from Dan Mara. It was as if he had changed his telephone lines. She had made several inquiries through various agents at the KLM and Kenya Airways offices but no one seemed to have even heard the name. Dan Mara, she had loved him very much, even if she had known him for only one week. Why had he refused to marry her? When Doughnut walked into the room and rubbed herself against her feet, Margaret Jane kicked her so hard that she mewed loudly in a terrified, surprised voice and ran out. After a few minutes, her cat donut was back in the room. She looked at Dan Mara sadly then rubbed her feet against her mistress. Feeling guilty and unfair to the cat, Margaret Jane picked the cat, stroked it lovingly and told Doughnut,” marry me, pussy cat. Humans don’t love me. Marry me!” “Meow.” Doughnut replied, snugging closer to her new ‘husband’ Margaret Jane.
“Love me please,” she begged him as she hang on to his knee, tightly.”Love me, please darling, I beg you, love me.” Instead of the hug she expected from him, he roughly shoved her off , shouting, “get off me, leave me alone!”
What had happened that such a man who once loved her with all his heart and would have done anything for her, had suddenly changed and no longer wanted anything to do with her.
“I love you, darling, please don’t do this to me!” She begged, tears flowing endlessly down her face. He sneered at her, showing complete indifference and contempt. What was the world coming to? Jude, her Jude, the man who has once literally walked on the grounds she treaded on had become a complete stranger! She could no longer recognise him.
“There are so many men in the world. I don’t understand why you are clinging on me! I am giving you the freedom to go out and marry them. I do not love you anymore! You can even leave now if you want!”
The words hurt. “What have I done? What is it that is so unforgivable? I have been faithful to you. I have been submissive, I have never hurt you!”
“I don’t want to hear any of this!” He said as he put on his coat and walked out of the house.
What had happened? Was this her man Jude or this was someone else? Why was he doing this to her.
She got up from the floor and ran after him, begging him to love her. He ignored her, turned on the engine and drove off. She stood in the rain, numbed, feeling nothing but pain deep inside her heart. “He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t love me any more. As if the pounding rains agreed with her, they washed away her tears in sympathy at her plight. The plight of a love lost.
She woke up with a start to find Jude embracing her, holding her tightly inside their warm bed. “You were screaming in your sleep. Had a nightmare?” He asked gently. “Just a bad dream, I guess!” She responded, still feeling dazed. “Do you want to discuss it?” “No, oh no. I don’t even remember anything,” she lied.
She hugged him ever so tightly as if she would never let go. She felt lucky that it was only a dream and he was right here with her, ever so warm, ever so loving. This charming sweet man lying next to her was the real Jude, the Jude she knew and loved. “I love you,” she whispered and bit his ear playfully. He kissed her back. Soon, she was fast asleep.
Yesterday was Leap Year’s day, or Leap Day as it is officially known, the only day women are allowed to propose to men according to tradition. I was supposed to wear a scarlet petticoat or at least a silk dress. But I did not propose, friends. I looked around the whole day yesterday till midnight but there were no men around. Sorry, I mean no man worth my salt. It is not as if men were finished. Not at all. The man I should have actually proposed to, the one I love, was nowhere to be found. I cannot say I love him all that much, but at least he has a job and an old car and he is more intelligent than I , so I suspect he can make a good husband. I have not seen this man of mine for the last ten days or so and he has not been answering to my calls or smses. But even if I had found him and proposed, I did not have a scarlet petticoat and I was truly too broke to buy him flowers. So there went another golden chance to get me a husband.
The other man I could have proposed to is already married so I thought about it rather hard and long and I wondered how I could fit into the picture if I married a married man with a married wife. I wanted my own man anyway, my single but elusive man. Leap Day is a day of Romance for women the world over and the word “complicated” was not in my agenda so I dropped the whole idea like hot cake.
To be honest dears, I am a modern woman or rather I consider myself one. But I am not yet hard-eyed enough to propose to a man to marry him. I am an empowered woman, or so I believe but proposing to a man to marry him? Not yet, I think I would grow cold feet. Never mind anyway, let us wait for Leap Day 2016. I might have the courage to propose and my man might be around this time around to hear my proposal. By then, I probably will have saved enough money to buy me a scarlet petticoat. Then I will ask this lucky man whether he can be mine forever; to love, cherish and hold till death us to part! Happy Leap Day to all women who got the courage to propose. Whether you were rejected or not, at least you tried.
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.