The Judiciary has dismissed reports that it gave sole custody to the mother of a 10-year-old girl, who was caught on tape last Thursday, January 9, wailing when her mother attempted to take her from her father at the Mwingi Law Courts.
In a Tuesday statement by Judiciary’s deputy director in charge of public affairs and communication, Catherine Wambui, a joint custody was given to both of the girl’s parents on September 12, 2019, with the edict ordering that the mother lives with the girl as she attends school, whereas the father takes her in during school holidays. The arrangement was to take effect from December 1, 2019.
“The mother was to pick her [up] on December 1, 2019, which would give them ample time to bond and look for a school for her well before January 2020. Come December 1, and the father refused to hand over the child. The mother returned to court on December 15, 2019 to seek orders that he be compelled to do so, and also show cause why he should not be cited for contempt of court,” says the Judiciary.
“On January 8, 2020, the couple re-appeared in court… The father was to bring the child the following day, January 9, 2020, and the children’s officer was to oversee the handover and ensure the girl had the necessary counselling and preparation. It was on the material day that the video was taken, and uploaded on social media with a view of painting the Judiciary in bad light, and as an attempt to reverse the decision of a court unprocedurally,” added the Judiciary.
The courts say when it issued a verdict on equal custody of the child on September 12, 2019, none of the parents filed an appeal at the High Court, and, given that they [parents] were represented by their respective advocates, the parties suggested they had welcomed the ruling.
“That in addition to the court orders, both parties through their advocates on record, signed a consent to comply with the court orders,” says the Judiciary.
Reports online claim that girl’s mother abandoned her when the child was one-and-a-half years old, and even went ahead to marry another man, but resurfaced when the child was 9 years old to claim the minor’s custody. The Judiciary denies the allegations.
“In this particular case, the social media narrative seems to suggest the mother was away for many years, and, therefore, should not have been given custody. It is noted that all matters and angles of the case were canvassed before a competent court. Moreover, a notable aspect is that the child actually lives with her paternal grandparents, since her father works over 70Kms away, yet her mother is alive, able and willing to stay with her.”