Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati is at the centre of a fierce property row that has threatened relationship between his family and that of his in-laws.
The IEBC boss’ name has been dragged into the matter by virtue of being the husband of Mary Chebukati, one of the contestants in a struggle to inherit property of her mother.
The mother-in-law in question is the aged Rose Otolo, a former Nairobi city veteran politician-cum- businesswoman whose husband Weston Otolo won a gold medal for his contribution as army officer in Second World war before joining Kenya Airways.
Chebukati’s mother-in-law aged 91, is the sister of former Emuhaya MP, the late Sheldon Muchilwa who represented the constituency for 10 years before he was ousted by the Kenneth Marende in 2002.
Among other siblings of Mary Chebukati are former Mumias Sugar Company managing director Courts Otollo, former Vihiga gubernatorial aspirant Hellen Otolo, Lucy Otolo and the late Albert Otolo aka commander Ali.
Back to the property saga, Hellen appears to be a lone ranger in the escalating war and pointing accusing figures at the IEBC boss ostensibly over attempts to use his powers to influence property inheritance in favour of his wife Mary, the chairman of Ladies Golf Union.
Hellen has equally accused other siblings, Courts and Lucy of teaming up with Chebukati’s family to lock her out of the deal as far as administration of her mother’s wealth is concerned.
What opened a can of worms in the property administration saga is a recent incident when Hellen and the sickly mother reportedly ordered for the cutting down of trees at their rural home in Bunyore in Vihiga county.
According to Hellen, the overgrown bluegum trees were interfering with the power line within the homestead. They were sold at a cost of Sh32,000 to local loggers.
But to her chagrin, she got information from the ground that police officers raided the home to stop the exercise before arresting the loggers.
In a phone interview with Weekly Citizen, Hellen said that Mary and Chebukati were behind the arrests after calling top regional police officers to storm the home and stop the cutting on the ground that they were not consulted.
A furious Hellen noted that it was a taboo for Chebukati to be involved in such exercise and accused her sister Mary of deploying her husband’s powerful position to influence their family property administration.
On the other hand, Mary branded Hellen as a loser and a disgrace to the family, who was hungry for family property yet decision on administration of the property had not been finalised.
Some of the contested properties are 14 acres of land in Mumias and houses in South C, South B, a plot in Mlango Kubwa as well as two plots in Mathare, Nairobi.
According to Hellen, a single mother of three and a former lecturer at Kenyatta University, there is a scheme by Mary and her other siblings Courts and Lucy to lock her out of fair benefit from the family wealth.
Currently, Hellen who attempted to unseat former Vihiga governor Moses Akaranga is living with the elderly mother in their family home in South C, Nairobi.
The sisters are washing their dirty linen in public with each trying to throw mud at the other.
The war has degenerated into name calling that has frequently caused the their aged mother occasionally being rushed to a top city hospital following a recurring high blood pressure as a result of war among the children over her properties.
Hellen accused Mary of plotting to kick her out of their South B house through every possible means including a stage-managed attempt to reunite her with her estranged husband.
“She is hellbent to see me out of the family house but I am here to stay taking care of my sick mother. I will not be cowed,’’ ranted Hellen.
She added that Mary has been frequently raiding their family house in South C to physically attack her but in the latest incident, she had to literally take off after Hellen’s son rebuffed her.
According to Hellen, Mary and Courts are behind a scheme where all the family land title deeds have been confiscated from the sick mother.
But when contacted, Mary rubbished the claims, branding Hellen as troublesome within the family circles and said she has refused to lead an independent life despite her good academic background.
In a lengthy phone conversation with this writer, Mary narrated how the family of Chebukati has struggled for the betterment of Hellen’s life only for her to emerge with weird allegations against the family.
Mary, who is popularly known within family members and close friends as First Lady, disclosed that she was only behind a move to salvage the family wealth from the hands of extravagant Hellen ahead of formal agreement on administration of the estate.
During the night phone call, Mary who was attending a Ladies Golf Union meeting, excused herself from the important meeting and patiently took time to expose her sister.
“I concur with all your facts but let me tell you that Hellen has started a war but in the end, she’s going to be the biggest loser,’’ Mary said.
She claimed that her has been stealing money from the ailing mother through mobile banking and in 2017, she wasted family’s millions of shillings when she ventured in politics after being fired from Kenyatta University over sexual harassment.
According to Mary, Hellen was fired from the university after she was found guilty of sexually harassing a student from Tanzania she had hosted in her servant’s quarters within the institution.
But in a quick rejoinder, Hellen stated that the sexual harassment case was part of Mary’s war with her regarding family property and that the incident was stage managed to frustrate her since the matter did not proceed to court despite the fact that she was fired over the same.
Hellen revealed that she has instructed her lawyers to revive the case challenging what she terms as wrongful dismissal from the university adding that the case was technically dismissed on shaky grounds.
However, Weekly Citizen has learnt that the family has called for an urgent meeting aimed at bringing peace between the warring factions as well as forging a way on how to amicably handle the inheritance issue without attracting the attention of the public.
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