All I want for Christmas is my children back, man tells court
A Nairobi man who lost his wife four months ago is locked in a legal battle with his in-laws over the custody of their four children.
Through his lawyer Arthur Ingutya, the man, whose identity Nairobi News has concealed for privacy reasons, claims his in-laws have on separate occasions attempted to take away his children from their house in Nairobi’s Lavington estate.
At the moment he filed the case, he claims, his mother-in-law, three sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law were staying with his 11-year-old daughter and three sons aged 14, nine and seven.
He accuses the in-laws of forcibly making his children, who school at Sunshine Secondary and Makini Primary, to abandon their four-bedroomed house on December 11.
The man, who now fears he may not celebrate Christmas with his children, says the fight with his in-laws over the minors started just days after the death of his wife of 15 years on August 16.
He wants a Nairobi magistrate court to compel his in-laws to return the children and stop interfering with his parental responsibility.
“It is a matter of absolute urgency that the children be restored to my custody so that we enjoy Christmas together and thereafter prepare for school next year. I have no idea where they are,” he says.
He claims that he has continued to adequately provide for them since the death of their mother and accuses his in-laws of interfering with his responsibilities.
He explains that his daughter was taken away by a maternal uncle who sought his permission for her to attend a party at her other uncle’s place.
He had allowed her to attend the party but on condition that she be returned the very day.
However she has never been returned to date.
His three sons, he says, were taken away by the two maternal uncles in the company of police officers from Muthangari Police Station just days after their sister allegedly disappeared.
According to their father, the boys had just been circumcised by a private surgeon four days before they were taken away.
They had not healed and were on medication, he says.
Mr Ingutya, the lawyer, told court that in September, one of the uncles attempted to take away the children while pretending that they were to accompany him to the Nairobi Pentecostal Church yet the family attends Greek Orthodox Church on Valley Road.
The court also heard that in November, their grandmother visited the family’s Lavington home without notice, stayed for two days and then instructed the eldest of the children to take his siblings to her home without their father’s knowledge.
The man accuses his in-laws of delivering fast foods to his children whenever they want, buying a smart phone for his eldest son who uses it to access unreasonable content and even installing GOtv in his home instead of the Bamba TV gadget which they have been using, without his consent.
“This father has always done his best to provide for the children’s needs with love and care, he has not engaged in any inappropriate or criminal actions and charged with an offence relating to his conduct as a parent,” Mr Ingutya said.
He initially reported the matter to the Dagoretti Children’s Department where he was advised to move to court.