25 April 2019

Kenya: Man 'Abandoned in Kenya' Pursues UK Citizenship 57 Years Later

Photo: Wachira Mwangi/Daily Nation
Jimmy Whitehouse, a 57-year-old herbalist in Mombasa County, during an interview with the Nation in Mombasa on his alleged right to UK citizenship.

A man allegedly born to a former British police officer in 1962 is seeking United Kingdom citizenship over half a century later in a bid to claim his birth right.

Mr Jimmy Whitehouse 57, a herbalist in Mombasa County, claims he was the only son of the colonial era police officer who was based at Kapsabet Police Station.

In an interview with the Nation, Mr Whitehouse said his late father was born in 1932 and that his mother was a Luhya from Malaba.

He said he was the second born in a family of three children and that he was brought up at Ras Serani Drive near Mombasa Golf Club before his parents parted ways.

"I was born at Lady Grigg Maternity Hospital, now Coast Provincial General Hospital, on July 3, 1962. I grew up at the Salvation Army Children's home after abandonment," he said.

"I attended Barnard Estate Primary School from 1969 to 1975 before proceeding to Dagoretti High School in Nairobi."

'HISTORY ERACED'

Mr Whitehouse believes his rights were "destroyed" by his father, who died later in 1998 and his second wife, a Ugandan, who is also deceased.

He alleged that the family used the "divide and rule tactic" to "erase" his history and make it difficult for him to trace his roots.

"I was born British but I was denied my right. I had two sisters but was left in Kenya. My father, with the help of his second wife, denied that I was part of his family," he said.

"They tried to hide all my connections but thanks to photographic evidence that I have from Google and Facebook, I am hopeful that I will get my birth right.

"I have tried for many years to be accepted. My two siblings are British but I am not. They made it impossible for me to become a citizen."

EMBASSY

Mr Whitehouse said he did not understand why his father denounced him at a tender age and accused the British government of "rejecting" children born and abandoned in Kenya.

The herbalist further alleged that authorities in the UK were also frustrating his efforts to acquire citizenship.

He said that in 1996 and 1997, the British Embassy in Nairobi turned down his claims saying he lacked sufficient evidence.

"Go and settle your family issues then come back to us" is reportedly what he was told.

Mr Whitehouse said however, that he will relentlessly seek justice with the help of lawyers in the UK. He is looking for financiers.

"More than getting my citizenship, I want to restore my mum's legacy and respect. My stepmother took my siblings to the UK while I was abandoned in Kenya," he said.

He said his siblings live in London with their four stepsiblings.

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