Frail granny braved cold nights outside court in quest for justice

Milimani law court/FILE
Milimani law court/FILE

For the last three years, a 93-year-old woman has spent cold nights outside the court every time her land ownership case came up.

She finally has been granted ownership of the two plots in Githurai.

However, the granny is yet to get final signed orders and she was waiting in court yesterday. By press time the orders had not been signed.

Though frail, Njeri Kiriba tirelessly walks from Githurai to Milimani court in Nairobi’s Upper Hill every time her case is scheduled for hearing or mention.

She would arrive at the court precincts at 5pm and sit outside waiting for nightfall. She braves the biting cold every night without any food or comfort of a mattress she waits for daybreak to ensure she does not miss the hearing. Occasionally good Samaritans give her a cup of tea.

She walks with a red bag and supports herself with two walking sticks. The red bag is clutched close to her frail body because it contains vital documents to the case.

Rarely does she engage people on her own but when one strikes up a conversation with her she talks with caution.

Yesterday she told the Star in an interview that she does not talk to people much because she fears corrupt people might take advantage of her.

A mother of three and a widow, Njeri says she does not even have a lawyer to represent her in the land case she filed against a company called Kenya Ihenya Company.

“I don’t have an advocate. My advocate is God,” she said.

Njeri did not trust her children to follow up with the case because she says they plan to take what is hers. She said they don’t take care of her in her old age.

“My son who used to take care of me has passed away and the other two children do not care about me,” she said with tears filling her dimming sunken eyes.

Njeri sued Kenya Ihenya Company, seeking to restrain it from harassing her or trespassing on her parcel.

The old woman in her suit papers says she bought two plots from the company and was issued with shares certificates. However, despite paying in full, she has been denied ballot papers in respect of the two plots.

Her attempts to resolve the issue by reporting it to several government agencies failed because the company did not cooperate, she says.

The company admitted Njeri was a member and she was issued with two certificates for the two plots.

According to the company, a meeting held in 1985 resolved that for each member to be given a plot they needed to pay Sh3,500. However, Njeri was unable to pay the full amount and was allowed to pay for one plot by installments, which she completed in 1996.

“The Defendant [company] maintains that the plaintiff’s [Njeri’s] receipts dated 27/9/1995, 1/11/1995 and 27/6/1996 in respect of Sh2,500, Sh1,500 and Sh100, respectively, are self-explanatory and relate to plot number 145 only, not plot number 144. Apart from filing the defence, the defendant did not adduce any evidence in court,” the company said in its suit papers.

However, High Court judge Kossy Bor in November 2017 ruled in favour of Njeri, directing she be given both plots.

The judge directed the company to execute the transfer documents that will facilitate the registration of Njeri as the proprietor of plot numbers Nairobi Block 124/144 and 145 within 21 days.

“The defendant [company] or any person claiming under them is restrained from further harassing the plaintiff [Njeri] on p