Every time I see the lawyer on T.V my heart skips a beat, my ulcers rise and I remember the pain of the accident, I relive the pain, the piercing chest pain, my back stuck on the bed, knives poking my body
, stomach on fire, my broken leg shaking in pain, I am drained in sweat, breathing through the mouth, tears rolling but too drained to cry out loud.
This time the lawyer is being linked to the COVID 19 scandal. It is Thursday, the third week of August and the COVID19 scandal continues to unfold and shock, The Coronavirus that was first reported in China in late 2019 found its way to Kenya a few months later. Our Government, like many others, took measures to contain its spread. Medical supplies and protective equipment, a significant amount coming from donors, were procured and distributed through our government medical supply authority, KEMSA.
But in my humble opinion, our leadership dropped the ball right from the beginning. The day was 8th July 2000; I left my Kasarani house and headed to the bus stop. I was on my way to Eastleigh to visit a patient when a car veered from the road and knocked me. I don’t know what happened but the next time I regained consciousness I was in the hospital, I saw Jimmie, my neighbor, in Kasarani, and wondered why he had followed me to East Leigh.
“Jimmie you mean you people were also coming to the same place as me?”
Jimmie explained that I had had an accident and was rushed to Nairobi hospital. The man who knocked me had given them his business card so that I may be accepted in the hospital. After the first aid, the hospital sought to find out who would be responsible for the bill so that they could continue with treatment. They called the man who had knocked me, he was a lawyer. He did not respond.
The hospital wanted a deposit of 30,000 shillings but that was not available so after carrying out X-rays and first aid to support the broken leg, they released us with a referral letter to Kenyatta Hospital.
The x-ray was explained to me. My leg was broken in two places, at the ankle, and below the knee
At Kenyatta Hospital, my leg was plastered and I was sent home. The pain was unbearable. I was hurting in my ribs, neck, head, and chest. More x-rays were done for other parts of my body. I was asked to start a therapy clinic at Kenyatta, every Wednesday. This therapy went on for several months.
Eventually when the plaster was removed my leg was not in a good condition and I was advised that I needed to be operated on and metal put inside to join the bones and correct the situation.
I was required to raise 150,000 shillings.
On my way home, after the removal of the plaster, both my hand and broken leg became numb and I nearly fell on the bus. I could not support myself. The nerves had died on one side.
I was taken to Gatundu hospital where it was noted that the problem could have been the loose plaster that I had previously worn, that did not keep the joints in place. After treatment in Gatundu Hospital, there was some improvement and I felt my leg had begun to heal. It was also in Gatundu that I was referred to the lawyer who would take my case.
I gave my lawyer all the documents related to the accident including police abstract, medical records, and x-rays. She then referred me to her doctor at Tumaini House. She explained that once the case is determined, her cut would be 30%. I agreed to this.
My lawyer contacted the driver who had hit me, apparently, he was also a lawyer and I thought that maybe his insurance would help pay for my treatment and also for my suffering without having to go to court but that was not the case. The case was filed in 2001. Again I did not foresee much trouble. The defendant was in agreement and the medical reports were available, but no, this was the beginning of a nightmare that has never ended.
We eventually went to court in 2002. I was asked to bring the policeman from Kasarani station, who had witnessed the accident.
The case was against United Insurance but to my surprise, the lawyer for United was the same lawyer who had knocked me! Now he was on the opposite side asking me questions! He later told me that he was employed by the insurance company.
He missed court several times after that. Each time I would go to court and I would be told the court had been adjourned. This was happening at the tail end of the late President Moi’s rule, the late President Kibaki and President Uhuru were the front runners for the third President of Kenya.
I was surprised to hear on the radio, the lawyer’s votes been counted in several centers in Muranga, then it was finally announced that the man who had knocked me was now the Honourable Kembi Gitura, MP of Kiharu.
I began to panic. What about my case? I felt a dreadful feeling all over my body
Is that why he was missing in court? Perhaps he was very busy on the campaign trail while I suffered, my life had changed completely, my dream to be a singer, a far off dream. I felt the burning pain in my leg and my whole body. I had closed my business in Kasarani and was now very desperate, how would I deal with an honorable member of parliament?
We ushered in a new President, a new government but I could not celebrate. I was spending time and money in a court process that seemed stuck. I would go to court but my case never commenced.
“The honorable M.P is not in and he has not given any proceedings to commence”
The court would be adjourned. Again and again.
It reached a time when my own advocate began to fail to appear in court too and she would blame it on me, claiming I am the one who was not present. It was too much for me and I even suggested that if I got one hundred thousand I would consider dropping the case. In 2002, one could buy a plot in Juja, Kalimoni for 100,000-150,000 shillings.
I still dreamt of being a singer, I would live in Kalimoni, set up a small business, and produce my records.
I found a way to go around the false accusations of “no show” made by my lawyer. Someone advised me to mark my number on the notice board. My name was called
Jane Wamaitha Vs Kembi Gitura!
“Present!”, I responded. The judge asked for my lawyer and that of Kembi. I responded that I do not know. This happened twice. On the third time, my file could not be found!
I decided to search for the file myself. I went to room Number 5 of Milimani Commercial courts. The officers confirmed that the file had left their office for the courts. There was no record indicating the return of the file.
My lawyer then called me and said the file had been found and booked for another hearing.
By this time Mr. Kembi had lost the second attempt at M.P for Kiaharu but had been appointed the Kenyan Ambassador to Belgium. He was no longer available in court. The case kept on being adjourned but I made sure I attended all the hearings once a year as was now the spacing.
The judge had had enough.
He said he did not appreciate dozens of adjournments over a period of 10 years. He said that a judgment day must be given.
The judgment was set for 25/02/2010 at 2 pm
On the judgment day, the two lawyers were summoned by the judge. They took a while at the bench.
They came back and gave me a sign to get out. I followed them out.
“What happened?” I asked, my lawyer responded that a judgment had been made. I asked
“But what was the verdict?” My lawyer responded that I would be paid Shs 450,000 as damage and another 430,000 as cost.
My lawyer told me they would send my cheque after 30 days. I waited for 2 months before going back to the lawyer’s place in April. I asked the lawyer about the progress of my cheque. The lawyer responded that my case was appealed and was now in the High Court. My heart sank.
“Why wasn’t I informed? Who had appealed?” My lawyer said that Mr. Kembi had returned the case to the appeal. Did I ask why? Did they feel that Sh450.000 was too much to pay me after 10 years of suffering? She said she would inform me one day.
I wrote to the lawyer about my personal needs, my daughter had won a green card and was looking forward to settling in the USA with her husband and daughter. Was it possible for the lawyer to advance me Sh300,000 to help my children to travel to the US? She did not respond to my letter.
I was not able to help my daughter as my sickness had a long-running court case had drained all my resources. My mum sold her cow for sh20,000. The medical exam for my daughter and grandchild was coming to 120,000, we managed to raise this, but there were still the visa fees and flight tickets. It was too much and my daughter was not able to travel.
Today she works in a small eatery in MaiMahio, her American dream a distant past.
In 2006 I visited the Commission of the complaint at Sheria House, they opened a file for me and I complained about my lawyer. I was concerned about the frequent adjournments and missing files.
I was finding it difficult to trust my lawyer. I would go to court then inform the commission on what had transpired.
I informed them that judgment was made on 25th Feb 2010 and the lawyer had asked me to pick my check after 30 days, she, later on, claimed that the defendant had appealed.
My lawyer found out that I had been visiting the complaints commission and banned me from her office. She claimed I was quarreling and claiming she had taken my award money.
The commission officials gave me a letter to deliver to my lawyer asking her to explain the whole case and the status. Nothing much came from this intervention and a friend introduced me to legal rights for women organization.
Again I explained my challenges, they asked me to go to court and obtain all the proceedings. Another file was opened for me. I was given a card and asked to fill all the court proceedings including dates given.
When I informed them that my case had been taken to the Appeal court they were very concerned. They asked me to write a letter and say what I want. I said all I want is to be paid my money, even if it is by Mr. Kembi himself. I took this letter to my lawyer.
The women’s organization gave me a lawyer whom I gave copies of all proceedings, again we opened a file. The lawyer, from the women’s organization, also confirmed that indeed my case had been taken to High Court. He was able to access the file. The file indicated that Mr. Kembi should not be distressed (auctioned) until the court gives a ruling.
I have also tried to seek help from our local member of parliament and to his credit, he took me to Parliament with the hope of meeting honorable Kembi but unfortunately he was not in on that day.
My friend, the secretary of the disabled chapter in Gatundu had earlier informed me that she was also working with the Kenya Human Rights. She took me to their offices in Muthangari, again I opened another file, but there was a delay when my lawyer traveled to the Hague in connection to the post-election violence cases
I have also sought support from media and contacted both the big media stations as well as our local vernacular stations but they did not follow through for me.
Whenever I see Mr. Kembi on T.V, I think a lot, I have developed stomach ulcers, sometimes I just keep to myself and miss out on current affairs. When the announcement to change the old 1000 notes was made I was not able to comprehend the consequences of the deadline and I did not want to tell people I had saved up money because with my condition I must have emergency money. A week after the deadline to change the currencies I realized I am stuck with my old notes worth 41,000.
Through this letter, I beg the Central Bank Director to consider my plight and exchange my money.
I have tried everything and this letter is my last cry for justice, see how twenty years have been kind to one person and miserable to me and my children. This case has brought pain, misery, poverty, and conflict to our home. My last wish is to get a home of my own where my children and grandchildren can visit me.