• She says he had weapons in his car's back seat including a panga which he said was a present to cultivate his farm.
• Says he grabbed daughter when she finally agreed to greet him and sped off, but father says the child is happy, well-fed and in no need of rescuing.
The painful cry of her only child asking to be rescued from a father she barely knew still plays in her mind repeatedly.
For this mother, until she sets eyes on her two-year-old daughter, she will not rest. She is seeking help finding her daughter, who was forcibly taken away by her father, Peter Mwanzia, on Monday.
A happy child, well-fed and in no need of rescuing, on the other hand, is how Mwanzia describes the same child.
"I am her parent too and I know what is good for her. Why would I put her in harm's way?" he asked.
However, the 'your word against mine' war that has now been escalated to the authorities started long before Mwanzia took the child.
The mother says she would have calmly waited for the return of her child but having seen weapons at the back of his car, she cannot hold her peace.
"I cannot rest until I am sure my child is safe," she said.
The 30-year-old said she was at home with her young nephews when a car pulled into their compound. She recognised the car to belong to Mwanzia, a border patrol officer and the father of her child.
"Peter packed the car and sat on a chair outside our house. He asked to see our child, a request I did not oppose," she narrated.
However, despite several attempts to get the child to greet the father, she declined.
The woman said she tried to persuade her to move close to her father but the girl was adamant.
"The father took his car keys and as it honked, she got excited and went to him. Just as she got to him, he grabbed her and carried her into his car as the child screamed to be freed," she recounted.
"I tried to rescue her and managed to get into the backseat of his car. That's when I saw a panga and some blunt metals placed on the seat."
The mother said she grabbed the panga and threw it out of the car for fear that the officer would use it. She said the man grabbed and threw her out of the car before speeding off with their child.
Peter, when contacted by the Star, had a different story to tell. He said a friend had gifted him the panga that same day and he was to use it to cultivate his farm.
"I went to pick my child upon my return from visiting a friend. It was inside my car, at the back and I had no intention of using it," he said.
Mwanzia said that when he got home and realised the panga was missing, he assumed that some strangers he had given a ride along the way had taken it.
He said he had decided to go pick his daughter after his father was told the child's mother was married elsewhere.
"My father called asking her to come back but she told him that she was married and that our child was staying with her mother. I decided that I would pick her," he said.
Mwanzia said he had sustained a back injury in the line of duty and had left for a check-up at Memorial Hospital when he found his wife and child missing.
"She hit me on the same spot of the injury during an argument and I had to go back to the hospital. Upon return, she was gone. I called and she said she was at Emali going back to her parents," he narrated.
The mother, however, asserted that she left in January after he battered her for questioning where he had spent the previous night.
"He left me at his parents' home to visit his friends but failed to return. His phone went unanswered until the next morning when I called using his father's phone," she recounted.
That day, he hit her badly as his mother cheered him on, she said.
"I knew it was time to leave but I could not go back to our rented house. So I called my parents and they sent me money to go back home."
She said Mwanzia once came to their home after the incident and asked that she returns or he would not support his daughter.
"When I said no, he said I should never call him or ask for support. That was the last time we spoke until his return to abduct my child," she said.
The mother reported the issue at the Machinery police station in Kibwezi and the case was booked. At the station, she was advised to file a complaint with the Children's Office.
"I went there but was referred to their offices in Machakos, since the father comes from there," she said.
"If I did not think my child's life is in danger, I could have waited for these protocols, but I am worried she might not be safe."
Edited by R.Wamochie