Charity Kingangir has for years been running up and down the corridors of justice seeking child support. She shared her disappointing story with the Kajiado Star, in which a local politician continues giving her the run-around
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” These words, spoken many years ago by the late African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr, have provided solace for many people facing a slow and uncertain pursuit of justice. But not for Charity KIngangir, whose pursuit of justice at the Kajiado Law Courts appears to have hit a dead end.
Despite getting orders compelling her former lover Douglas Keton to provide comprehensive child support, this is yet to materialize years later. A warrant of attachment of Keton’s property issued last year is also yet to be executed as one hurdle after another is thrown her way.
Keton, who has previously worked as Director of Economic Planning in the Kajiado County Government, vied as an independent candidate for the Kajiado East parliamentary seat in the August 9 polls. He received a paltry 1, 243 votes in a race won by Kakuta Maimai of the Orange Democratic Movement, who garnered 28,730 votes.
Charity’s complaints of child neglect against Keton started way back in 2007, when her daughter was only a year old. Court papers show that the two were involved in an intimate relationship, leading to the birth of their daughter.
At the time of their relationship, both Keton and Charity were single, but decided to go their separate ways when the relationship did not work out to their mutual satisfaction. Keton went ahead to marry two other women, with whom he told the court he sired six children.
According to Charity, the two former lovebirds agreed to mutually take care of their daughter at the time they parted ways, but Keton soon reneged on that agreement. After many years of struggle as she raised her daughter, she filed her suit in 2018 at the Children’s Court in Kajiado, in which judgment was entered on December 9, 2020.
At the time of judgment, the child was a candidate for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, and the four-page verdict ordered Keton to pay Ksh40,000 towards her school fees. Additionally, Principal Magistrate Irene Kahuya ordered him to be solely responsible for taking care of the child’s secondary school education at an institution of his choice. The costs of her tertiary education would then be equally shared between Charity and Keton.
The court ordered Charity to cater for the minor’s medical expenses through her NHIF scheme. Costs of any specialized treatment were to be shared equally between the parties. Keton was further ordered to pay Ksh20,000 per month to Charity commencing January 5, 2021 and every fifth of subsequent months.
Even though Keton had urged the court to grant him custody of the child, this was declined. “From a tender age, the subject has been fully in the Plaintiff’s custody and only partially in the Defendant’s,” the judgment read. “The minor prefers being in the Plaintiff’s custody. This is because her short experience in the Defendant’s custody did not go well due to allegations of neglect on the part of the said defendant and mistreatment from his wife.”
Before taking the matter to court, Charity had first approached the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) for assistance. Keton appeared the first time he was summoned, but thereafter ignored further summons, sparking the court action.
“The decree required him to pay Ksh272,487,” Charity said. “I served him with the decree and later sent an auctioneer, who served him notice. The auctioneer and his team went back after a week and were threatened by a group of Maasai who had gathered at the home.”
Since then, it has been impossible to get orders from the court directing the local police to accompany the auctioneer. An application on the same was dismissed. Her lawyer, too, started taking her round in circles. “He bribes everyone. I am so tired of all this. He has not communicated with me and has since blocked my number.”
‘I am not a woman’
Contacted for his side of the story regarding the serious allegations levelled against him, Keton instead threatened the team at the Kajiado Star using sexist language. “Dare to publish that story… you will know that I am not a woman.”