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Man sues parents for Sh20 million

A man is suing his parents for Sh20million — because he claims they tortured him after he became a born-again Christian.

Anthony Kariuki McKnight, who lives in a slum on Sh100 a day, has filed a total of 60 accounts of physical and psychological torture that he says he suffered from the age of 12 when he was saved.

Now aged 30, he says he has lost jobs and the chance of post-graduate scholarships because of the upheaval he has gone through. If he wins his case, Mr McKnight will be the first Kenyan who has ever successfully sued his parents.

Mr McKnight’s father, Mr John Mathia Kariuki said his son’s allegations were false but refused to comment further.

Psychological problems

However, his mother, Mrs Esther Kariuki, said she did not know her son had made those claims or gone to court.

And she added: “I am not aware. Which son? Anthony has a psychological problem; he is unwell.

“Mr McKnight, who grew up in Nairobi’s Thome estate, gives various accounts in his suit of the sort of tortures allegedly perpetrated especially by his mother, whom he claims once hit him on the head with a mop handle.

“It happened when I was a Christian Union official at Kenya College of Accounts (KCA) and we were on a two-week fast. My mother mistook my fasting for stubbornness and my parents forced me to break the fast,” he says.

In his petition, he cites degradation of his health such as bleeding from the head and the stripping of his skin because of beatings, hemorrhoids and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mr McKnight, who lives in slum called Jua Kali behind his parents’ home in Thome, is a self-proclaimed IT guru CEO of an internet based company known as infoyote.com.

The company hosts copyrighted works of authors that the public can download for a fee.

He compares himself to American entrepreneur Steve Jobs, whom he says he relates to, since Steve Jobs was abandoned as a child.

Mr McKnight claims he lives on Sh100 a day by doing casual jobs, as his business is yet to take off. He has difficulties in paying his rent and electricity bills of Sh3,500 a month and currently two months in arrears.

House at Maruri informal settlement where Antony Kairuki stays.  Photo/ JEFF ANGOTE
House at Maruri informal settlement where Antony Kairuki stays. Photo/ JEFF ANGOTE

He says going to the courts is the last resort after a series of failed attempts to settle the matter with his parents.

“Before I took my parents to court, we tried mediation in 2008 but it did not work. We tried counseling but my mother would not show up. In 2011, we went to the chief to report the matter but my parents did not cooperate either.

That is when I decided to go to court,” he says. Mr McKnight says he cannot afford an advocate and is therefore representing himself.

He says he cycles for 60 kilometres from home to Milimani Law courts on a faulty borrowed bicycle because he lacks bus fare.

Because he could not afford a lawyer, court officials helped him by giving him a draft petition so that he could write it by himself.

The court allowed him to file the petition as a pauper and the Deputy Registrar found merit in his case, therefore exempting him from paying court charges.

When the matter in court appeared before Mr Justice Majanja on Tuesday, the judge ruled that his parents should be served with court papers and set February 17th for the hearing.  Mr McKnight is currently serving his parents with the court papers through the Roysambu Chief’s office.

Court papers 

Village elders at Roysambu Chief’s Camp say the matter was first brought before them by Anthony four years ago.

“He had just moved out of his parents’ home. He said that his parents were mistreating him by overworking him. He said they gave him difficult chores like cooking and cleaning,” said Elder Hesbon Majinga.

He said several elders and the chief discussed the matter for hours with Anthony and his parents to no avail.

“We are not sure what the problem is exactly. The parents have been paying his rent and his upkeep. Now we are in the process of serving them with court papers,” he said.