“Kituo is like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-35 NIV Bible, they rescued me from a scratch, they stabilized my dwindling hopes.” These were words genuinely articulated by Mercy Njeri Mwangi as she receives the order from Kituo Lawyer, Simon Kimondolo issued at the Nairobi Environment and Land Court (ELC). The order that guaranteed her ownership of her forcefully sold plot was granted by Judge Mary M. Gitumbi on April, 10, 2015. Mercy Njeri through Kituo’s assistance filed a case on January, 23, 2014. Her story and encounters with Kituo Cha Sheria unfolds as follows;
About her case…
So as to attain Justice and what is rightfully yours, one has to be patient and persistent. Mercy Njeri was married to Peter Mwangi Muchoki in December 1986 and they were blessed with three children. At the existence of their marriage, through their great exertion, they jointly bought a plot from the City Council of Nairobi whereof they constructed 12 houses, lived on some and rented out the others for their income.
Sometimes in 2008, their marriage began experiencing turbulence and thus they separated. It is during this time that the then husband started mistreating the family and even assaulting her. In the year 2010, Mary complained at the Chief’s office that Mwangi was collecting the rent from all rooms and spending all of it without giving the family anything for their basic needs.
The Chief and the area leaders arbitrated on the matter whereby the parties agreed to divide equally the plot and each to have 6 rooms to be collecting rent from. Mary was therefore able to get an income of Kshs 8,300/= per month from the houses she was collecting rent and which went a great mile in assisting her and the children meet their basic needs.
In 2011, Mary got an accident and was admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital. During her hospitalization, Mwangi took advantage of the situation and sold the entire plot including Mary’s 6 rooms to Edward Mwangi Macharia who was their neighbor. Mary tried to stop the deal from her hospital bed but she could not. Macharia assumed ownership of the plot and started collecting rent from all the 12 houses from November 2011 and even changed the ownership documents at the Nairobi City County to reflect him as the owner. Still groaning in hospital, Mary sent her elder son to go and check, hoping the then husband could even show mercy to the son. The son came back mesmerized and only uttered “Mum, all is gone the neighbour is collecting the rent, he says the plot we have been collecting the rent from belongs to him and I cannot find daddy!”
At this moment in life if you were Mary what would you do? When all is gone and nothing left to keep her going with the children who needed clothes, food, shelter and school fees. In crutches, having nothing to even settle her hospital bill, she was disillusioned!
Her encounter with Kituo Cha Sheria…
Embittered and all hopes vanishing, Mary did not know what to do; she decided to seek legal assistance on the matter of the accident. A police officer had earlier proposed to try and get assistance from Kituo Cha Sheria. She came to Kituo as was directed, very optimistic to get help. She was received and directed to Kituo Gardens waiting to be attended to. This is where she overheard a conversation by other clients at the waiting shed; the client whom she did not know was telling his fellow how Kituo rescued his property from a grabber who used his wealth and money to bribe every avenue just to own his small piece of land.
Mary felt this is an opportunity to grab, “I must tell whoever will attend to me my predicament,” she said to herself.
She met Nathan Kivungi and Simon Kimondolo who derived two matters from her situation; that which concerns the accident and another on the selling of the plot. Mary did not have money at all so Kituo assisted her apply to be allowed to sue as a pauper (an impoverished person) on the matter that involves her houses and the order to that effect was issued in 2013.
Later Kituo assisted her in filing the ELC case on January, 23, 2014 and Kituo lawyers represented her in Court following up the matter to the latter in ensuring justice is granted.
The matter was fully heard and the judgment delivered on 10th April 2015. The judge gave the following orders:
i. That the plaintiff is entitled to half share of the suit property being the plot.
ii. General damages for trespass in the sum of Ksh. 100,000/=
iii. Lost income of Ksh. 8,300/= per month from November 2011 until payment in full.
iv. Edward Mwangi Macharia is given 30 days from the date of the judgment to vacate the Mary’s half share, 6 rooms of the Plot
v. Interests at court rates.
Mary was so happy to get back her lawful property and in addition a total sum of Ksh. 448,600 thus Ksh. 348,600 as compensation for lost income since November 2011 to April 2015 (42months) and further Ksh. 100,000 being general damages for trespass. Further, the Judgment in effect has restored her ownership meaning that as from the month of May 2015 onwards, she will be collecting her usual rent of Ksh. 8,300 per month or more from her 6 houses.
“I am grateful to Kituo Cha Sheria; you have restored hopes to the hopeless,” she acclaimed to Simon Kimondolo, Kituo’s lawyer who represented her throughout the Court sessions as she collected the Courts order.
Kituo Cha Sheria, “We Care for Justice”
By Nandia Paul- RCD