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Courts don’t ‘preside over’ cases, magistrates and judges do

Maina Njenga asks court to drop charges against him dropped (The Standard Digital, November 20). You got that, didn’t you?

The state has now identified the names of 131 children who died in the tragic Shakahola fast, which claimed the lives of 400 followers of the Good News International Church (Nation, November 21, p.3). Once you say “identified” in this context, we know it is “the names of”. Save words.

A court presiding over the succession case relating to the Sh16 billion estate of prominent Uasin Gishu farmer and politician Jackson Kibor has been told that he had prepared the will that was presented in court when he was of sound mind (Nation, November 21, p.12). Courts don’t “preside over” cases. Magistrates and judges do. To “preside over” is to be in charge.

The trial of Mr Maina Njenga over his alleged links to the proscribed Mungiki group and crimes it allegedly committed in Bahati subcounty opened on a dramatic note in Nakuru yesterday (Nation, November 21, p.14). His alleged links? So, Maina Njenga is no longer former Mungiki leader, a matter of public record? What kind of journalism is this?

On June 1, 2013, Simon Mwangi boarded a 14-seater matatu with his colleagues at 6pm as they headed back to Naivasha after attending a workshop in Nakuru town. The one-and-half journey started smoothly…(Nation, November 20, p.8). What’s “one-and-half journey”?

Adult Kenyans, including foreigners living in the country, who are not members of the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) will be denied access to government services once the Social Health Insurance Act 2023 comes into force (Nation, November 20, p.12). The preposition “including” means containing as part of the whole being considered, in this case “adult Kenyans”. But “foreigners living in the country” are not “adult Kenyans”. So, to avoid this confusion, just say adult Kenyans “and” foreigners living in the country.

The Court of Appeal’s rejection of a provision in the Islamic Sharia Law denying children born out of wedlock a share of their deceased father’s estate is a major triumph for justice (Nation editorial, November 20, p.15). Which “deceased father” is meant here, the man who sired the child out of wedlock (married woman’s lover) or the one the child lives with (woman’s husband, but not child’s biological father)?

Unless there is a paternity dispute, all the children of the same man are entitled to inherit his property. How can you say children born out of wedlock are “all the children of the same man”?

Marital status is a mere cultural issue and, where the parental link is doubted, it can be resolved through, say, a DNA test. What is the logic here? First, marital status is certainly not a “mere cultural issue”. It is a serious legal issue. And, second, what would be the point of determining disputed paternity through a DNA test if marital status is a mere cultural issue that should not affect inheritance, or if all children belong to a man no matter who sired them?

There is no rational justification for the creation of a distinction between children over their entitlement to their father’s estate? Again, which father? Why, then, suggest the need for a DNA test where the parental link is doubted? What would stop anyone from claiming so-and-so is their father and that they are entitled to inherit his estate if it doesn’t really matter who a person’s biological father is? Do you notice the massive confusion this editorial causes?

Senators have put Governor Wilber Ottichilo on the spot over pending bills incurred by the county government amounting to billions of shillings (Nation, November 20, p.22). Next page: MCA in a spot as state drugs found in clinic. Page 25: Kenya Power on spot over Sh27m send-off for ex-boss. Everyone seems to be “on spot”, woiye.

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