13 September 2012

Kenya: Catholic Priest Sued for Upkeep of His Teen 'Son'

A Catholic priest has been charged in a children court with neglecting a 13-year-old son whom he is said to have sired.

Father Josephat Mweu Mwazia, the parish priest of St Joseph Allamno Mbiriri Social Centre, Nyeri, has been taken to the Tononoka Children's court by Cecelia Mbiki, who claims the priest is the biological father of the boy.

Mbiki wants the court to compel the priest to accept that he is the father of the boy and to pay Sh35,000 per month for the upkeep of the child. She wants Sh5,000 for school fees, Sh10,000 for food,Sh8,000 for clothing, Sh5,000 for medical, entertainment Sh2,000 and transport Sh5,000.

Through her lawyer Oduor Okumu and Company Advocates, Mbiki says she has been providing for the class eight pupil alone since 1999 and now wants the priest to take responsibility.

"The minor is a class eight pupil who is opening school and is in danger of being chased away from school and its imperative that the court orders father Mweu to pay the fee arrears of the current year," She accuses the priest of failing to provide the child with school fees, shelter, clothing, love, warmth and care.

"The defendant has failed, refused and neglected to take up parental responsibility," the affidavit of a suit filed on September 3 reads. Mbiki said she met the priest while working as a househelp for the priest's aunt from 1998 to 1999 in Kilifi.

She said they enganed in an intimate relationship, which resulted to the pregnancy, months before Mwanzia joined the seminary. Father Mweu has been given 11 days to appear in court and reply to the suit papers failure to which the case will proceed and judgment issued in his absence.

Mbiki also wants the court to confiscate the priest's passport since he is constantly traveling and "may leave the jurisdiction of the court before the case is determined".

Last month, the woman, through her lawyers, is said to have issued a demand letter, seeking to have the priest provide for the son, failure to which she had threatened to go to court in 14 days, which lapsed early this month. She also wants Father Mweu to meet the cost of the suit. The two parties have been ordered to appear in court today for further directions.

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