A US-based Kenyan woman has lost a custody battle for her 16-year-old son following a ruling made by a Nairobi court last Wednesday.
High Court judge Aggrey Muchelule ruled that the woman identified in court as MAK is a fugitive and should not be allowed access to her son. The judge noted that MAK jumped bail and fled to the US when she was charged in the UK for assaulting the minor.
“I find that the best interest of the child will be served if the mother is denied access because she was found by the Family Court in the UK to have physically and emotionally abused her son and declared as a parent not fit to participate in his upbringing,” ruled Muchelule as quoted by The Standard.
MAK and her estranged husband, identified as RMAA, got married in 2002 and were blessed with the boy in 2004. A few years later, the wealthy couple was embroiled in bitter divorce and custody proceedings that started at a magistrate’s court in Nairobi before moving to the High Court in Tanzania, then to the Family Court in the UK and back to the High Court in Kenya.
At the time of their marriage, MAK was an employee of Central Bank of Kenya while the husband was a manager in a top hotel.
After filing for divorce and custody for their son in 2008, a Kenyan court granted MAK actual custody with the husband agreeing to pay school fees, Sh115,000 monthly upkeep, and Sh300,000 medical cover.
In 2014, MAK moved to the UK with her son after getting a scholarship to further her studies. The father, who had since moved to Tanzania, agreed to enroll the boy in a school in the UK.
The following year, the woman tabled the court order she had obtained in Kenya before a Tanzanian court seeking to have the man compelled to take parental responsibility of the boy while at the UK school but her case was dismissed.
In the UK, the boy filed a report with the police and the Children Services that his mother repeatedly assaulted him. MAK admitted the allegations and was charged with cruelty to her son.
She was released on bail but she fled to the US and a warrant of arrest was issued against her. The boy’s father then applied to have custody of his son and was granted by a UK court. The court declared MAK unfit to stay with her son and barred her from having direct contact with him.
Later, MAK moved to the High Court in Kenya claiming that her estranged husband had abandoned the boy in a UK boarding school and had denied her access to their son.
Justice Muchelule in his ruling noted that the boy said he did not want to see his mother because of the physical and emotional torture she subjected him to.
“The child expressly refused to have anything to do with her because of the physical and emotional assault he had suffered in her hands. She was charged in the UK with assaulting the child and causing him actual harm and is on a warrant of arrest after jumping bail,” he ruled.
Muchelule added that she lost her right to actual custody granted by the Children’s Court in Nairobi when she assaulted the minor. The judge noted that the best interest of the child will be served by observing the verdict of the UK Court which ruled she was unfit to take part in the upbringing of the child.