Peter Mbugua hit the headlines 15 years ago when he married former freedom fighter Wambui Otieno, who was 42 years his senior.
And yesterday, Mbugua, 40, wedded his lover Ann Wangari, 35, at a colourful mass wedding ceremony officiated by Bishop Harrison Ng’ang’a of the Christian Foundation Fellowship Bunyala Road Church in Nairobi.
In 2003, the then 25-year-old stone mason stoked controversy after he married Wambui, 67, a widow who had been embroiled in a bitter court battle in the late 1980s with her in-laws following the death of her husband, lawyer Silvano Melea (SM) Otieno.
Wambui, a fierce women’s rights campaigner, died in 2011.
Yesterday, Mbugua and his partner were among nearly 50 couples who solemnised their marriages at a ceremony attended by thousands of faithful.
Resplendent in a navy blue suit and tie, a smiling Mbugua said he had never regretted his life with Wambui because “it was a decision I made deep in my heart”.
“My first wedding was full of controversy after the death of my wife. As a human being, life has to continue and I am very focused with my life,” he said.
Asked about his wedded life, Mbugua replied: “I am very happy with my current family life. We are already blessed with three children and we are happily married.”
His wife said she was living a happy life with Mbugua, who she described as a real man of her choice.
“I am very happy today for being officially married by Mbugua. He is a real man and one in a million,” said a jovial Wangari.
During the nuptials, Bishop Ng’ang’a advised the couples to protect their marriages by being trustworthy.
In his first marriage, Mbugua and Wambui had a civil wedding at Sheria House in Nairobi and later solemnised their union at St Andrew’s PCEA in July 2003.
Mbugua said he gave Wambui the best companionship that she could have gotten, adding that he believed his sacrifice made her final years happier.
Their engagement elicited harsh criticism, with many claiming the former stonemason was only after Wambui’s wealth. But Mbugua dismissed the claims, saying he was in love with Wambui.
Those who opposed their union had said Mbugua would have been an “intruder” at Wambui’s rural home in Upper Matasia in Ngong, where she is buried. This is the home where Wambui had wanted her first husband, Otieno, to be buried in 1987 “according to his wishes”.
The death of SM Otieno on December 20, 1986 in Nairobi triggered a dispute between Wambui and his younger brother, Joash Ochieng’ Ougo, and clan member and distant nephew, Omolo Siranga, over who had the legal right to bury Otieno’s body and where he would be interred.
Wambui, who had moved to court, wanted to bury her husband in Upper Matasia while the defendants wanted Otieno buried in Nyalgunga, Siaya.
The court ruled that Otieno had expressed a wish to be buried next to his father’s grave in Nyalgunga.
“Having regard to the Luo customary law relating to burial... I hereby direct and order that the deceased’s body be handed over to Joash Ochieng’ Ougo and Virginia Edith Wambui Otieno jointly or to any one of them for burial at Nyamila village, Nyalgunga sub-location, Siaya District,” Justice Samuel Bosire ruled in February 1987.
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