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Polygamist man, 76, battles suit to save 50-year old marriage

By Boniface Gikandi | Published Thu, February 22nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 21st 2018 at 21:10 GMT +3
Onesmus Waweru Githiomi leaves Kangema Magistrates Court after testifying in the divorce case between Marcella Mukami and Peter Kinyugo. Githiomi was the couple’s bestman during their wedding in 1965. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

A 76-year-man is fighting to stop a divorce suit filed against him by his first wife.

Peter Kinyugo told Kangema Senior Resident Magistrate Dennis Kivuti that he still loves his wife of 50 years, Marcella Mukami, 73.

Kinyugo told the magistrate that he treated his wives Mukami and Triza Mulinge, 56, equally.

Mukami, a retired teacher, is seeking to end her marriage and have their property split into two. She claimed her husband had neglected her and was only concentrating on her co-wife.

Kinyugo said despite marrying Mulinge in 1984, Mukami still had the largest share of the tea plantation.

The man said when his first wife was admitted to Kiria-ini Mission Hospital, he visited her daily.

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“I love my two wives...  It was a shock to me to learn that after she was discharged, my daughter Margaret Wanjiru took her to Nanyuki,” Kinyugo told the court.

Mulinge, on her part, described her co-wife Mukami as a friendly person and asked her to withdraw the suit and return home.

She recounted how Mukami, for three years, provided her with a room in her three-bedroom house before she relocated.

“My co-wife played a big role in ushering me into the family. She accompanied Kinyugo to pick me as tradition demands,” said Mulinge.

She added that when her co-wife fell ill, she took her to hospital and visited her frequently to feed her among other nursing duties.

“After she was discharged from hospital, the family was shocked to learn she had been taken to Nanyuki by her daughter. We want her back in the family as my children respect her as their stepmother,” she said.

Mukami, who hails from Kiria-ini Town in Mathioya, Murang’a County, accused her husband of mistreating her and wants the property they acquired during their marriage sub-divided.

She also wants half of the family property and her husband to be compelled to pay the cost of the suit.

Mukami told the court that they had been living happily as husband and wife since September 16, 1962 until five years ago when the man stopped fulfilling his conjugal duties.

“Problems in my marriage started six years ago when Kinyugo would stay at my co-wife’s house for weeks without coming to my house which is in the same compound,” she told the court.

During the proceedings, Mzee Onesmus Waweru Githiomi, 84, revealed how he sub-divided Kinyugo’s land under tea in two portions in the presence of Mukami as instructed by Kinyugo.

Githiomi was the couple’s bestman during their wedding in 1965 at Kiriaini Catholic Church.

He was, however, at pains to explain how he sub-divided the land without survey equipment and in the absence of Mulinge.

“Since I had not been told of differences between Mukami and Mulinge by Kinyugo, I undertook the responsibility of sub-dividing the land without counting tea bushes,” said Githiomi.


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