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Chelsea admirer's hopes hit dead end

By | July 31st 2010

By Vitalis Kimutai

Chelsea, the only child of former US President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham, walks down the aisle today.

And as she does so, hopes of a Kenyan man – who once sought her hand in marriage – of meeting and marrying her, are confirmed a pipe dream.

All his wishes – to meet Chelsea, marry her and his recent expression of willingness to travel to the US for her wedding with her teenage friend, if invited –have all been reduced to a dream. He has never met her neither was he invited to the wedding today.

Chelsea is marrying Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker, in what has been dubbed the social event of the season. He is son of a former Congressman Edward Mezvisnky and congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Merzvinsky.

However, for Godwin Kipkemboi Chepkurgor, the wedding marks the end of his 10-year-old dream to marry Chelsea.


"I have simply lost her. It is a bitter pill for me, but I am not bitter. I wish her happiness with her chosen life partner," Chepkurgor said in an interview early this week.

He, however, says: "I feel jealous that another man has snatched her before I could get hold of her. I can assure him he has got a beautiful and intelligent woman for a wife."

And why does he think he lost the opportunity to make history as the first African to marry from the US first family?

"Perhaps, I was not patient enough. She already knows I’m married with two children. But if I had met her, perhaps things would be different,"

Chepkurgor says.

In 2000, Chepkurgor then a Fourth Year student at Moi University, sent security agents in a spin when he sent a letter to the White House, addressed to Clinton, seeking his daughter’s hand in marriage.

In the letter, Chepkurgor named former President Moi, former Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation chairperson, Zipporah Kittony, Eldoret East MP Margaret Kamar (then principal of Moi University’s Chepkoilel campus), as his referees.

He also named two of his college mates, John Tanui of Huawei Technologies and Joseph Siror of Kenya Revenue Authority, as referees.

Family and professional life

After waiting for a reply from the Clintons for seven years in vain, Chepkurgor, a former nominated councillor in Nakuru, moved on and married a former college mate Grace. She is a high school teacher and together they have two children.

Chepkurgor said he did his best in seeking Chelsea’s hand in marriage to an extent of putting her parents in the picture of his intentions. But he said with the new development, he was resting his case to focus more on his family and professional life.

"I would not like to meddle in her love life. I will keep praying for her and, someday, I hope I will share a table with both of them," he said. Asked in a previous interview why he chose to engage Chelsea’s parents directly in issues he should have tackled with her, Chepkurgor said that was the African way.

"In a typical African setting, such issues are dealt with by the parents, elders and prospective suitor," he explained.

During a tour of Kenya this year, Mrs Clinton was amused when she was asked what she thought of the offer of 40 heads of cows and 20 goats from a Kenyan seeking to marry her only child.

Fareed Zakaria of CNN, who with KTN’s Beatrice Marshall moderated a public forum with Clinton at University of Nairobi, asked the unexpected question.

She said it would be up to Chelsea to decide on the matter as she was a mature and independent person but promised to pass on the message.

In January, he had renewed his interest to meet Chelsea after she went public with her wedding plans this summer. In a 2,290-word letter dispatched through the US Ambassador Michael Rannerberger, the man expressed his undying love for Chelsea.

"Sir, I am not sure if it is right that I should write through your office this very private and personal issue (sic). Pardon my naivety. I do not know any other way," read the letter in part.

"My love is simple and true. It is chronic. It is persistent and phenomenal. It increases in measure like the global warming. I feel it in my heart and speak it with my lips. My word is my testimony and my heart is my witness," added the document.

Chepkurgor says he would have organised a grand wedding in line with African culture and would have invited retired South African Bishop Desmond Tutu to preside over it.

He said in previous interviews that his wife was understanding and did not mind his meddling with Chelsea.

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