The Kenyan Judiciary has come out to dismiss reports it awarded sole custody to the mother of a 10-year-old girl who was captured on video wailing and clinging to her father when her mother attempted to take her at the Mwingi Law Courts last Thursday, January 9.
In a statement via Twitter Tuesday, Judiciary said the court granted equal custody for both parents on September 12, 2019. It was established that the mother would stay with the girl as she attends school, whereas the father would have custody during the school holidays.
Since it was September, the arrangement was to take effect from December 1, 2019.
However, on the said date, the father refused to hand over the child prompting the mother to return to court on December 15, 2019, seeking orders that he be compelled to do so.
“More push and pull followed, but on Jan 8 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,” said Judiciary’s deputy director in charge of public affairs and communication, Catherine Wambui.
The statement follows media reports that the girl’s mother abandoned her when she was one-and-a-half years old, but resurfaced when the child was 9 years old to claim custody.
“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,” added the Judiciary.
Read the Judiciary’s full statement below.