Court dissolves 56 year marriage over husband's preference for younger wife

Mrs Marcella Mukami Kinyugo, 85, being wheeled out of Kangema court after the hearing of her divorce petition started. [Boniface Gikandi/Standard]

After more than half a century of marital bliss and grief, Marcella Mukami, 73, and Peter Kinyugo, 76, are now divorcees.

The Kangema Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday affirmed Ms Mukami’s desire to split from her husband whom she accused of mistreating her in favour of a younger co-wife.

The decision brought to an end a union put together in 1962 that bore one child and set the stage for a tussle over the sharing of matrimonial property.

Mukami, who is wheelchair-bound and was absent during the ruling, had asked the court to consider that she had contributed to the acquisition of the property due to her employment by the Teachers Service Commission.

Mr Kinyugo, a retired chief, was present in court as was his second wife, Triza Mulinge.

Apart from the mistreatment claims, Mukami also sought to end her marriage to Kinyugo on the grounds of desertion and adultery.

Co-wife’s house

But she particularly singled out Ms Mulinge, whom Kinyugo married in 1984 and who bore him three children, for the unravelling of her relationship.

She told the court that cracks appeared in their union six years ago when Kinyugo started spending weeks at her co-wife’s house without paying her a visit.

This was despite the two wives sharing the same compound in their Kiria-ini homestead.

During the hearing of the petition, which was filed in December last year, the court had suggested the couple go for mediation. Kinyugo and Mulinge had maintained they still loved Mukami and would welcome her back to their home.

The mediators, however, lacked the wherewithal to restore the union.

“I am of the same mind that the petitioner’s marriage broke down, and there is no love for each other, and no likelihood or reunion is so remorseful,” read part of the judgement delivered by Kangema Resident Magistrate Agnes Gichobi.

After the session, Kinyugo shuffled out of the court in the company of Mulinge and his daughter and listened patiently as his lawyer explained the implications of the verdict.