A legal battle over the property of ex-Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa is tearing his family apart and has forced his youngest daughter to drop out of school for lack of support.
The property dispute pitting Wamalwa’s six children, four from different mothers, has delayed processing of pension benefits of the flamboyant politician 15 years after his death.
At the centre of the row is the Karen home that was partly paid for by the Kenyan government after Wamalwa’s death.
By the time he died, Wamalwa had paid Sh19.5 million and the balance of Sh31.9 million was cleared by the government.
In court papers obtained exclusively by the Star, Wamalwa’s late widow Yvonne Nambia Wamalwa argued that the Karen home was not part of his estate. She said;
The Karen House to my understanding does not form part of the estate of the deceased, as the same was not a property owned by the deceased prior to his death, but the same was a gift granted to me as his widow, which house does not form part of the assets of the deceased’s estate.
Before her death on January 25 last year, Yvonne wrote a will bequeathing the house to her daughter Michelle Nafuna Wamalwa and son Derek Mboya.
Yvonne’s death anniversary was quietly marked in Karen yesterday.
But in October last year, just three months before she died, Wamalwa’s eldest daughter Alice Muthoni Wamalwa obtained a court order placing a caveat on the house.
Justice Aggrey Muchelule barred Yvonne, her servants and agents from selling, leasing or in any other form alienating the parcels until the estate of the deceased is finally distributed.
Muthoni and her stepbrothers now want the Karen home sold and the proceeds shared equally among five beneficiaries.
The children are also battling for two apartments at Akila I Estate, along Mbagathi Road in Nairobi, 40 acres in Trans Nzoia and 3.8 acres in Milimani, Kitale.
There are also 3.34 acres on which Wamalwa’s residential home stands and a property only described as Agricultural Finance Corporation, also in Kitale.
Listed as beneficiaries of the estate are Yvonne, Michelle, Derek, Muthoni, Jacob Jabali, William Samuel Wamalwa and William Wamalwa Junior.
But Muthoni claims Derek was not Wamalwa’s biological son and should not be a beneficiary of the estate.
She claims that Derek’s father is alive and is a man of means “from a reputable family of Tom Mboya”, and that his mother was only using him to increase her stakes in the estate.
“I have learnt that Derek’s father, one Mr Luki Mboya, is alive and he is a man of means,” she states.
Before her death Yvonne, who had a lavish wedding with Wamalwa in 2003, said the ex-VP had taken in Derek as his own son.
“Derek …was also a beneficiary and a dependent of the deceased [who] had during his lifetime taking him up as his own son, maintained him and paid for all bills and treated him as one of his children,” she stated.
In fresh court papers, Yvonne’s last-born daughter Michelle Nafuna Wamalwa, who was a minor until November 9 last year, says she has been out of school for the last one year.
She says her step siblings have never helped her and she depends solely solely on her brother Derek and her aunt Jacqueleen Nangami Nyangweso. She says in her affidavit;
The death of both my parents has rendered me an orphan…I have been out of school for almost one year since my late mother passed away, as I am yet to be provided my beneficial share in my late parents’ estates.
Wamalwa died without a will. But on September 12, 2003, Yvonne applied and was granted letters of administration.
On January 24, 2005, the grant was rectified to include Muthoni as a co-administrator.
Muthoni has now opposed Derek being made her co-administrator following Yvonne’s death.
“I am therefore apprehensive that if the respondent is allowed to act solely as administrator of our late father’s estate, our house stands to suffer and continue to be prejudiced concerning our beneficial share of our late father’s estate,” Michelle said, in supporting her brother being made co-administrator.
But Derek is now turning the heat on Muthoni, accusing her of exposing the estate to unnecessary loss and debt.
For instance, he claims Muthoni has leased eight acres in Kitale and another 40 acres in Saboti to her relatives.
He also claims that Muthoni in collusion with his stepbrothers sold 700 trees belonging to the Wamalwa estate at a gross under valuation.
According to the court documents, the trees were sold at Sh1,500 each and not Sh3,500, which Derek claims was the market value.
He also claims that Muthoni transferred the AFC land to her name and that of Jabali, William and Wamalwa Jnr without their knowledge.
It is on this parcel that former President Mwai Kibaki instructed that a mausoleum and library be put up in honour of his late former deputy.
EX-VP Wamalwa’s family in scarcity, daughter out of school
Michelle Nafuna Wamalwa, popularly known as Chichi, was only three years old when her father, Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, died in August 2003, barely a year after assuming office.
She became famous because her father used to carry her to press conferences and she would sing and hit the microphone, oblivious to what her father was saying.
Despite the loss of the family’s main breadwinner, Chichi, grew up to become bubbly and ambitious.
She had big dreams of walking in the footsteps of her eloquent and generous father who had gone to Ivy League schools and was one of Kenya’s most polished English speakers.
Sadly, 14 years after the demise of Kenya’s eighth Vice President, Chichi’s mother, Yvonne Nambia Wamalwa, also died last year after a long battle with a brain tumour that wiped out the family resources.
Today Chichi is 18.
Her once-animated face is strained with pain and uncertainty and her hopes are shattered. Her smile is gone, she’s anxious about her future education and her family’s survival.
She’s on anti-depressants.
Chichi says people falsely believe being a Wamalwa makes her life better.
“Uncle Eugene (Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa) told me I should prepare to leave for Australia on a government scholarship,” she told the Star on Friday at her run-down Karen home.
That was on March 13, 2018. I was only left with two weeks to graduate from high school. Since that time I have been waiting.
In her first media interview, Chichi opened up to the Star about the family’s protracted property dispute with her step siblings that have left them impoverished.
Reached for a comment on Friday, Eugene said he could only discuss Chichi’s education on Saturday. “Call me tomorrow. Am with her at her late mother’s first anniversary memorial service at Karen,” he said in a text message.
Chichi told the star at her family’s overgrown, rundown, unguarded Karen home;
When you go and look for help, you’re told there are people in your family who can take care of you, why don’t you go to them? These same people are the one’s ruining your life.
I’ve been on anti-depressants, my anxiety is a time bomb and we are no longer able to afford medicine.
At the burial of Chichi’s mother Yvonne, Deputy President William Ruto promised the government would educate Wamalwa’s children. He also promised Yvonne’s sister, Nangami, a job to enable her to take care of the children.
It hasn’t happened.
Wamalwa’s Karen home sticks out like a sore thumb in the leafy neighbourhood of imposing homes. It looks deserted, ghostly.
Today, the family can hardly afford basics.
“It has been difficult,” Chichi said. “If it were not for friends and well-wishers, we would not be surviving.”
She has been out Gems Cambridge International Schools for nearly a year for lack of funds.
They say their extended family, including their uncles, have abandoned them and one is clandestinely behind the family property feud.
Derek Mboya, Chichi’s elder brother, told the Star yesterday there were family feuds before Wamalwa’s death but they never thought they would be turn so toxic. He returned from Australia to help the family.
“Mzee [Wamalwa] and the extended family always had some ups and downs, but they never extended the problems to us. They treated us well until his death,” Derek told the Star.
He says his family story is one of grace to grass. When he was 10 he went with his father to political events.
One minute they had it all it all — bodyguards, shopping in high-end stores and holidays in exotic destinations.
Today, that’s gone and some family members have made comments that are a threat to their life, Derek claims.He says visiting their Kitale home is almost impossible.
Derek said his father was generous, educated all his siblings and helped “all and sundry”.
This may explain why why unlike politicians of his time, Mike, did not accumulate massive wealth.
Things turned sour when he died.
First, it was communication breakdown, long meetings and sleepless nights for his mother.”We started seeing our mother having longer nights, a lot more meetings, we assumed it was normal. Later we understood she was under a lot of pressure,” Derek said.
Yvonne died at her sister’s place in Nanyuki. Her children claim she was in debt and there was no money o take her to hospital.
“Mum never got to enjoy dad’s retirement benefits, including health insurance. If my mum had medical care, she would probably be alive today,” Chichi said.
Her aunt Jacqueleen Nangami Nyangweso, who has been providing for the family, has exhausted her savings.
Fifteen years after Wamalwa’s death, his pension has never been processed. An injunction was issued after a suit by Wamalwa’s eldest daughter, Alice Muthoni Wamalwa.
Retirement benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers Act) are generous for former Vice Presidents. These include health insurance for the beneficiaries’ spouse.
Credits: The Star