When a Thika Court ruled that our home, the one we’ve lived in since 1996, is no longer ours

by Lawyer Wanz

Both married partners have a right to remain in the matrimonial home, regardless of who bought it or has a mortgage on it.

This is known as home rights. You will have the right to stay in the home until a court has ordered otherwise, for example, in the course of a separation or divorce settlement.

In 2019, a magistrate at Thika Court ruled that our home, the one we’ve lived in since 1996, is no longer ours

A courtesy image of Ms Hellen Ndung’u

In 2019, a magistrate at Thika Court ruled that our home, the one we’ve lived in since 1996, is no longer ours. Here’s a thread, please RT, it may get to someone who will save us from becoming homeless. One of the greatest tragedies in our fam, is that my dad committed suicide in June 2003. I was 9yrs old, my older sister in form 4 was home on midterm 2nd term, and my bro was in form 1. IDK what my dad’s struggle was, but that’s the choice he made. He and mum met in the early 80s in Juja. Mum was working at E.A.Bags later known as Premier Bag & Cordage while dad ran a small shop.

They got married under Kikuyu customary law. They always narrated to us abt how mum invested a year’s salary at dad’s shop until it was profitable enough for mum to quit her job. They hustled together at the shop, which dad happily registered under mum’s name. My sis was born in 1986, my bro in 1989, and I in 1993. We spent our childhood at the shop helping after school and during holidays. During our parents 16th year of marriage, 1996, we had been blessed enough to be able to purchase a plot of land adjacent to Thika road. I say, we, because this was a family effort that we are so proud of to date.

We also had a dream of buying the plot next to our home. Unfortunately, by the time dad died, we had not achieved this dream. Mum hustle and was able to make the final payment after dad died in 2003. We had already built our home on the first plot in 97, our home to date. After dad’s passing, grandpa wrote his eulogy but he also passed in 2010. As a widow, mum worked hard to put us through school. We all went through college and as the last born, in graduate in 2015.

Now here’s where our second tragedy begins. Traditional, land is registered under the patriarch’s name. So our home was under my dad’s name and the next plot was in my mum’s name. Now that we were all done with school, mum decided to file a succession cause, which was granted with her as the administrator had filed another succession cause. His last name was Njoki, though he had a striking resemblance to dad. So apparently, dad had another family in the 70s, bore 6kids, and separated the lady remarried and had 2more kids. There was no mention of this other in the Eulogy so we didn’t know them. He applied for revocation of mum’s grant and it was revoked with costs.

Now with 2 concurrent succession causes, ours was dismissed and his proceeded in mum’s absence. In 2019, we learnt that mum’s grant was revoked in 2017. Fast forward to 2020, my mum was approached by auctioneers with a 7day notice that they would auction her shop if she didn’t pay for costs attached to the revocation of grant. Mum filed for a certificate of urgency, and a date was given for 14days later. Seeing that the 14days were more than the 7days, she paid the costs to avoid harassment from the auctioneers. Meanwhile, the 2nd succession cause proceeded.

To our shock, the opposing counsel on the matter was our dad’s lawyer. I had been to her office as a child while accompanying my dad. On the second succession, the judgment was passed that, the first plot, on which our home is built on, would be the share of our newly found step-brother and his siblings then the second plot, that my mum bought after dad died would be our share. 

The opposing counsel used documents that she has apparently attained from dad, to prove that he had made some payments on the property. This second plot, undeveloped, would be our share. Disgruntled, mum filed an appeal and stay app stay application, which on April 19, 2021, was denied at Kiambu High Court with costs. So mum should pay, again.

We are advised to file for a stay in court of appeal, but we’re struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic. We’re still in disbelief that. The same courts designed to protect us would leave us homeless. We feel lost, defeated, and weak, in the face of people who seem to be working together very well to disinherit us, and leave us home na on top of that tuwalipe.

I’m calling on anyone who understands the law better than we do to provide legal advice. Personally, I’ve lived with the trauma on losing dad when I was in class 5, I’ve never really gotten over his death, then this happens. I keep asking God, what did our family do or not do to deserve this? If you’re still reading, thank you. You might have your troubles too. 

We’re also fundraising, if you wish to support us in footing the legal bill so we can file to the court of appeal, your help will be appreciated. Asanti. I’ve been typing for an hour now. It’s 3.47 am, I’m used to being awake at this hour wondering what next and praying to God. I keep whispering the Lord’s prayer, coz I don’t know what else to pray for now.

Please God, listen. Our step-bro was installed as an administrator of dad’s estate even if mum is still alive. We’ve recently tried to carry out a search on the plot where our home is, and file is now missing at Ardhi Hse. Mum has been paid land rates to Kiambu county & Ardhi Hse

This article was first posted as a tweet thread by Ms Hellen Ndung’u

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