Priest in bid to block DNA test

Tuesday January 22 2013

By PAUL OGEMBA [email protected]

A Catholic priest has filed a suit in an attempt to stop a paternity test on a child he is alleged to have sired with a househelp.

Fr Josephat Mweu Mwanzia of St Joseph Parish in Nyeri claims that a magistrate’s order that he undergoes a DNA test to prove the paternity of the child was done without due regard of the law and facts.

The priest, through lawyer Njoroge Kimani, argues that the magistrate disregarded his interest by refusing to consider his protest that the child’s mother should produce the boy’s birth certificate to support the paternity row.

“Fr Mwanzia is aggrieved by the order to undergo a DNA test despite his pleas to have the birth certificate of the alleged minor produced and failing to consider his affidavit protesting against the order,” said the lawyer.

A Mombasa magistrate in November last year ordered Fr Mwanzia to undergo a DNA test to establish the boy’s paternity following a petition by the child’s mother.

The woman claimed that in 1998, she was working for the priest’s aunt as a househelp in Kilifi when he visited them after which a romantic relationship started between them.

Parental duties

She swore that she conceived in 1999, gave birth and had been taking care of the child after the priest disappeared and refused to provide for them.

“The defendant has failed to cater for his son and has neglected parental duties despite being a priest with a regular salary,” said the woman, who wants the cleric compelled to provide Sh35,000 monthly upkeep to cater for food and education.

She submitted that she could no longer take care of the child since she was jobless. The boy, she noted sat his final primary school exam last year and would miss a chance to join a secondary school if the priest was not compelled to take care of him.

The magistrate allowed her application and ordered that the only way to determine the claim was a DNA test. He directed the priest and the minor to undergo the test before he a determined on the maintenance and upkeep.

Fr Mwanzia, however, claims he was never given a chance to meet the woman and iron out the issues.

He argues that the magistrate’s order for DNA test is defective since he was not accorded the opportunity to respond to the paternity allegations. He states that he has been subjected to mental anguish and his reputation as a priest put in doubt.

According to the priest, his was a case of mistaken identity, arguing that it was his brother who had an intimate relationship with the woman.

The application will be mentioned Tuesday for direction.