Twins in Raila family estate dispute to undergo DNA test
Two minors alleged to have been fathered by Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s late son, Fidel, will undergo a DNA test to establish their paternity.
Justice Aggrey Muchelule of Milimani High Court’s Family Division directed that the test be conducted following a consent of the parties to ascertain the paternity of the twins before proceeding with a succession case before court.
The order was issued following an objection by Fidel’s widow, Lwam Getachew Bekele, to an application filed by Raila’s wife, Ida, and her daughter, Winnie, at the court seeking to be granted orders to be the administrators of Fidel’s estate.
Justice Muchelule directed lawyers Victor Olao, who appears for Raila’s family, and Rogers Sagana, for the widow, to agree on where the DNA test will be done.
He also ordered the parties to cooperate in the process of extracting of tissue or blood samples for the purposes of the test.
Bekele, through her lawyer Sagana, termed her mother-in-law’s assertions as a concoction of facts given that the twins were born six months after Fidel’s death.
Fidel, who was Raila’s first born, died on January 4, 2015. His lifeless body was found in bed at his Karen home.
At his death, Fidel’s wife had one child but Ida and Winnie claim he had sired twins with a different woman and are legally his dependents.
“The petitioner has deliberately failed to include and provide or otherwise show the intention of providing for the said minors hence a red flag on her intentions,” says Ida in her court papers.
However, Bekele said she does not have a problem accepting the minors as beneficiaries of her late husband’s estate if it is proved they are his children.
At the same time, the court declined to bar the media from covering the case, saying once the matter is filed in an open court, the media have a right to report on it. The judge, however, directed that the children’s names should not be mentioned to protect them.
“You are fighting in an open court therefore, we cannot stop the media from accessing the courtroom or covering the case. If the media finds the story juicy, let them publish it,” said Justice Muchelule.
This followed attempts by Ida, through her lawyer Olao, to seek court orders stopping the media from publishing details about the Fidel’s property row pitting his widow Bekele and her daughter Winnie.
Lawyer Olao told the court that, the issue before court was not about property, as reported in the media, but about paternity of the two minors.
“The Odinga family has no problem over the minors being included in the vast estate of Fidel subject to direction of the court,” he said.
Bekelle has denied that the twins are her late husband’s children, saying her son is the only heir to his estate.
She further says the objection by Ida and Winnie had been overtaken by events since it was filed outside timelines stipulated by law of succession. The grant of letters of administration of the estate was issued on January 9, 2019.
Bekele points out that, in an affidavit filed by Ida, the birth certificates of the twins do not indicate their father, thus do not prove the paternity of the minors.
She says the birth certificates indicate the children were born on July 1, 2015, which was six months after Fidel’s death and wondered how the deceased supported the minors before they were even born.
“I have never inter-meddled with the estate of the deceased person (Fidel) either before or after being issued with the grant of letters of administration intestate,” she adds.
Bekele also denied claims that she had hidden her son from Raila’s family or withdrawn him from the formal education system as alleged by her mother-in-law.
The widow added that she had been providing for her son without any support from Raila’s family.
She said that, while her son was Fidel’s only heir, she would include the twins as beneficiaries of his estate if it is proved he sired them.
Justice Muchelule directed that all parties to file their relevant responses to the petition that was filed last year.
The case will be mentioned on November 13 for further directions.