Retired Presbyterian church minister Timothy Njoya has filed evidence in a Nyeri court showing why a woman claiming to be his stepmother should be evicted from his father’s four-acre (1.6-hectare) plot.
In a statement filed before Senior Principal Magistrate Phillip Mutua through Kamau Kuria Advocates yesterday, the Reverend Njoya said he is the registered owner of the property and has a certificate of confirmation of grant issued by the High Court in Nairobi in 2004.
He said Ms Mary Wangui Maina is a trespasser on LR No. Muhitu/Thiha/324 in Mukurweini Constituency. The land was originally registered in the name of his father, Njoya Murere, who died in 1996. He produced a copy of the title deed in court.
Rev Njoya indicated that Ms Wangui was only his father’s househelp, and that he is not related to her four children. He said that her services were terminated in 1990 after the family learnt that his father had prostate cancer and needed special medical care, which she could not provide.
But a few months after his father died, Ms Maina built a hut on the land and his efforts to sell the land to Thika Coffee Mills Ltd in 2005 failed after she opposed the transfer.
“It was when I was served with her application for a revocation of the grant in May, 2005, that I learnt that she was claiming to be my father's widow, and that she wanted to inherit it belatedly, as it were,” the cleric said.
But Ms Wangui claimed she was given the land by the cleric’s father.
“That was a lie. The (land) board decided not to consider it and requested me and her to resolve the dispute in court,” the cleric said.
On April 28, 2005, a lower court directed Ms Wangui and her family to move out of the land. But Ms Maina insisted in court documents that she was Mr Murere’s widow, having lived as husband and wife from 1977 until his death on January 2, 1996.
The Muhito Village chief issued them with a certificate confirming the union, she said. Mr Murere had visited her parents on February 5, 1977, and informed her parents that he intended to marry her.
“We were blessed with four children,” Ms Maina said in her affidavit.
Her first two children were from a previous union, but Mr Murere had adopted them as his own.
She also indicated that Thimba clan elders in Ngoru Village, where Mr Murere came from, had formalised the marriage under Kikuyu customary laws.
She said that before the old man died, Rev Njoya and his siblings had been harassing her, saying she was not their father's wife and was, therefore, not entitled to any part of his estate. When Mr Murere was sick, she cared for him as a wife, she said.
Ms Maina indicated that the cleric obtained letters of administration for his father’s property secretly, with the intention of transferring all the assets to himself.
But the Rev Njoya insisted that Ms Wangui is not related to him or to his father, and has no beneficiary interest in his father’s assets.
He said after his mother died in 1950, his father employed a series women as househelps and farmhands, and she was one.
The parties will make their submissions on November 20.