1.This Ruling relates to the Chamber Summons (the Application) dated 26th May, 2022 brought by the Appellant/Applicant under section 4(2), 24(1), 83,91 & 117 of the Children’s Act. The Application seeks the following orders:
2.This application was supported by an Affidavit sworn by the Applicant in which he has deposed that he is the minor’s father; that by judgement delivered on 2/9/2021 he was ordered to cater for the minor’s school fees and school related expenses subject to the Respondent and him agreeing on a school within his means; that they did not agree on a school and by application dated 9/12/2021 the Respondent applied to court seeking that he be committed to civil jail on grounds of non-payment of school fees; that in his application for review dated 14/12/2021 he sought telephone access of the minor when she was with her mother as well as access to the minor on half school holidays and public holidays an issue the trial court failed to consider in its judgement; that by ruling dated 23/5/2022 he was ordered to pay Kshs. 50,000 of the minor’s tuition fees together with all school related expenses while the Respondent will top up the balance.
3.He has deposed that by the ruling dated 23/5/2022, the court suo moto reviewed its orders of 2/9/2021 and condemned him unheard; that he was not given an opportunity to submit on his financial circumstances, together with his dissatisfaction with his daughter’s school which barred him from visiting his daughter, and/or knowing about her schooling and that his application for review was dismissed on grounds that reviewing the current orders on access of the minor who is now 5 years old would psychologically affect the minor if separated for long from her mother. He argued, further, that the minor needs a secure relationship with both parents so as to be stable emotionally. It is his case that if the orders sought are not granted, he would suffer substantial loss which would prejudice his position to meet Zuri’s education needs.
4.The Application was opposed through a Replying Affidavit sworn by the Respondent, the mother of the minor. She has deposed that the Applicant also filed his own application dated 14/12/2021 seeking review. She stated that the Appellant had all the time and opportunity to reveal his financial status to the trial court and cannot now turn this appeal into a second trial over facts that have already been dealt with. She avers that it was never a condition spelt out in the judgement that the Appellant should pay fees within his means as he alleges.
5.It is the Respondent’s case that the Appellant is the one who proposed to be paying an amount of Kshs 50,000; that she filed an application for contempt of court as the Appellant had failed to meet his obligations of paying school fees; that the matters of custody, access and school holidays were dealt with by the trial court and cannot be opened at the application stage; that her advocates filed an appeal being Civil Appeal No. E039 of 2022 which was served on the Appellant with the result that the Appellant rushed to file this appeal and application knowing well that she had filed an appeal ahead of him and that the best way to handle this matter is to have Appeal Nos. E039, E043 and E051 consolidated.
6.The Appellant swore a supplementary affidavit dated 24/6/2022 in which he stated that his appeal is not on the payment of Kshs 50,000 but on the Respondent’s blackmail that he must pay the entire sum of Kshs. 154,000 which is beyond his means so as to access his daughter when she is in school. He averred that Appeal No E051 of 2021 is primarily on custody, Appeal No. E039 of 2022 seeks to commit him to civil jail for being unable to afford Kshs. 154,000 per term in school fees and this appeal is on access to his daughter when she is on holiday and school. He stated that neither of the appeals in E051 and E039 has been complied with and by extension admitted and that it is premature to give directions on how they will be heard (consolidated).
7.This Application was canvassed by way of written submissions. Both parties have filed their submissions. I have read the submissions and the issues argued by each party. I need not repeat the contents of the submissions given that they are on record. The arguments contained in the submissions are a reproduction of the depositions of the two parties contained in their affidavits.
Analysis and Determination
8.The Appellant is seeking orders mainly to stay the orders issued by the trial court on 23/5/2022 as well as access to the minor aged 5 years. The guiding principle on all matters touch on children is found under Article 53(2) which provides that:
9.The same principle is replicated in the Children Act. Numerous authorities, too, amplify this principle. In the case of DOB v DMA  eKLR the court addressed itself on the issue as follows:
10.Similarly, in RWW vs. EKW CIVIL APPEAL NO. 13 OF 2013  eKLR the court held that:
11.I have read the memorandum of appeal. Although this court has not had the benefit of the proceedings of the lower court save for the judgment given that the record of appeal has not been filed, I have noted that the appeal raises substantially similar issues as are being canvassed in this application. Granting of the orders sought in this application will be prejudicial to the Respondent because such orders will to some great extent affect the outcome of the appeal.
12.Guided by the principle of the best interest of the child as expounded in the above authorities, it is my considered view that delving into the issue of both maintenance and access to the child at this interlocutory stage is not fair in the circumstances of this case.
13.My considered view is that it would be prudent for the parties to seek to be heard substantively in the appeal so that all the issues can be canvassed and determined substantively. For this reason, I decline to grant the prayers sought in the Chamber Summons dated 26th May, 2022. I direct parties to seek directions on the main appeal so that the same can be determined.
14.It is so ordered.
Dated, signed and delivered on 14th December, 2022.S. N. MUTUKUJUDGE2| Ruling in Kajiado Children’s Civil Appeal No. E043 OF 2022