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Tanzanian woman fights ‘secret’ divorce by Nairobi husband

A Tanzanian woman has accused her Nairobi husband of secretly divorcing her, before fleeing with their two children to Malawi.

In her appeal papers, Ms Fransisca Mushi Ochieng says: “I was shocked to learn that the man I trusted as my husband instituted divorce proceedings and went for hearing without me having been served. He has now obtained other orders in Malawi blocking me from having access to my children.”

Ms Mushi and Dr Aziz Ochieng Abdalla were married in 2007, she said, and have been living happily with their children aged three and seven, at Crystal Springs Apartments in Lavington, Nairobi.

However, things started going wrong in January when Dr Ochieng’s employers, Management Sciences for Health, sent him to work in Malawi.

“I had proposed that we should let the children finish their academic year before we move to Malawi. However, he insisted that we should move. We, therefore, joined him on April 2,” she said.

EMAIL WITH LAWYER

Ms Mushi said on April 11, while using her husband’s computer, she came across email correspondence with his lawyer and female friends discussing the divorce case, which had been concluded in Kenya.

At first she thought it was a mistake. However, a lawyer friend in Kenya whom Ms Mushi contacted confirmed that the divorce case had been concluded and her husband granted full custody of the children.

“At the time the judgment was delivered, I was in Malawi settling with my husband and our children. I was shocked to find out that my marriage had been dissolved without my knowledge as I had never been served with any court documents,” she said.

On April 18, the husband asked her to go back to Kenya and dispose of some of their assets.

Unknown to her, Dr Ochieng used her absence to file another case in Malawi and obtained orders blocking her from having access to the children.

Ms Mushi wants the High Court to overturn the divorce case which dissolved their marriage, and order giving her custody of the children.

She has also written to the ministry of foreign affairs requesting that they create a link between the Kenyan and Malawian courts to help us solve the dispute since she cannot afford to attend both courts for the hearings.