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File police case, DCI tells man fighting for daughter's custody.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has advised a man seeking custody of his nine-month-old daughter to report the matter to police.

Relatives of Mr Timon Makswell's late wife are said to have forcefully taken the child from him.

In a post on its Twitter page on Thursday night, the DCI, headed by George Kinoti, told Mr Makswell's friend to advise him to lodge complaint at any police station.

"Be assured that investigations will be launched and justice served," the directorate said in its reply to the friend, @ItsBravin, who reported the matter via the social media platform.

The message carried the hash tag #justiceforbabytamara.

BATTLE

In a lengthy Facebook post of about 2,400 words, Mr Makswell said he was forced to hand over the baby to his wife's aunt.

His wife, Rena, died in October 2018 from birth-related complications, having delivered by Caesarian section at Rumuruti Hospital in Laikipia County. She also suffered liver disease.

Mr Makswell narrated how he spent close to three hours at Spring Valley Police Station in Saika, Nairobi, on Thursday as he fought in vain for the custody of the child. He claimed police officers tried to kill him.

He wrote: "I was bundled into the police vehicle and they took my child (away). I lost my child, the one [whose mother I promised] that no one would ever take away from me. I know I have failed but I still ask myself if there is justice in this world. What did I ever do to this family to make them treat me like this? Did I have to die to save my child?"

Mr Makswell said his wife had cautioned him against giving their child to her relatives.

He went on to say, "To my late wife Rena, I am really sorry I have failed you. I was not able to keep the only promise I made you before you left this world. To my little girl Tamara, 'daddy' is really sorry [he] could not take care of you any longer. I know I have failed you."

LEGAL ADVICE

Rucuiya Kimani, a lawyer, advises Mr Makswell and anyone else caught up in such a situation to first report the incident to the nearest children's office.

"According to the law, parental responsibility and custody rests on both parents equally. Upon the death of one parent, the surviving parent takes up full responsibility for the child," the lawyer says, adding relatives can only be accorded this privilege by a court and cannot take the children forcefully.

Any redress on children's matters should first be reported to the children's office for an amicable out-of-court solution to be sought, advises Rucuiya.

"Should this fail, the parent can pursue court action. Where the parent is needy and unable to afford legal services, there are institutions such as Kituo Cha Sheria and Fida, which have networks of pro bono lawyers who can [help]."

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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:567
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