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Succession: Nyachae family claims woman had four husbands

  Margaret Chweya, who claims to be a widow of the late former minister Simeon Nyachae. [Sammy Omingo,Standard]

Investigations by the family of former Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae have revealed that a woman seeking to inherit part of the politician's multi-billion estate had been married four times.

As the battle for the politician's multimillion-shilling estate rages, several men have come up to claim they were married to Margaret Chweya who claims to be Nyachae's widow.

Affidavits by two men and an investigation report commissioned by the family detail Ms Chweya's alleged marriages.

In her court documents before High Court judge Eric Ogola, Chweya claims she was the fourth wife of the late Chief Secretary and head of the Civil Service.

The documents are filed in a battle to control Nyachae's wealth estimated at Sh2.05 billion.

However, Nyachae's family went flat out to discredit the claim by hiring a private investigator to dig into her marriage life.

The affidavits and the investigation's report have also been filed before the judge.

The report claims Chweya had been married by four men, two in Kenya and two in the US where she lives.

In her application, Chweya claimed she was married to Nyachae in 1973 and had three children - Chweya Roney David, Jon Paul Chweya and Patricia Chweya.

In the case, Charles Nyachae, a member of the East African Court of Justice, denies any connection between Chweya, her children and his family, asserting that there is no evidence to support her assertions of being Nyachae's wife or the biological mother of the children.

"The claim by Margaret Chweya to the effect that she was the fourth wife of the deceased is not supported by any evidence," says Charles.

At the same time, Charles's mother, Martha Mwango, also submitted an affidavit countering Chweya's claims. She states that Nyachae had five wives, namely herself, Esther Nyaboke, Grace Wamuyu, Sylvia Nyokabi (whom he divorced) and the late Drusilla Kemunto.

Mwango dismisses the photographs presented by Chweya as insufficient evidence of their relationship.

"I categorically state that the first applicant herein-Margaret Kerubo Chweya was, as far as I know, not a wife to Hon Simeon Nyachae. I verily believe that having been married to my husband-the late Hon Simeon Nyachae for 64 years, I would be in a position to know the wives he was married to," says Mwango.

 Simeon Nyachae when he served as Finance minister. [File, Standard]

She also states that she never informed her that Nyachae was sick.

Supporting Charles's position, Leon Nyachae, his stepbrother, filed separate affidavits disclosing an investigation into Chweya's life in Kenya and the US.

Leon states that the executors of Nyachae's estate - Charles, Angela Nyachae and Eric Nyachae - commissioned the investigation.

The probe, conducted between May 5, last year, and February 15 involved the assistance of a consultancy firm in Kenya and a US-based investigative company.

The goal, according to Leon, was to establish Chweya's true identity, her marital history and her family situation, including her marriages, children and their respective timelines.

"The mandate given to both the Kenya investigator and the USA investigator was to establish who the first applicant (Chweya) really was and more it relates to her family situation- that is, whether she was married, to whom was she married to, when she was married, whether she had children when she got children," Leon states in his reply.

Leon narrates that investigations reveal that Chweya was born on December 12, 1954, to David Chweya and Priscilla Moraa.

He states Moraa died in 1956 and immediately, David married Sibia Mokeira Nyandusi, a daughter of Senior Chief Musa Nyandusi and a stepsister of Nyachae.

He claims that her first two husbands, Jacob Machuki Mokaya and Michael Pondo Migowa, live in Kenya.

The report also claims that Chweya had marriages with George Gordon Odera and James Leroy Totten.

"The above-said first two husbands to wit; Jacob Machuki Mokaya and Michael Opondo are resident in Kenya and were so resident even at the time of their respective marriages to the first applicant," says Leon, adding that in 1974, Machuki and Chweya had a son called Samuel Onyancha.

Machuki has also filed his affidavit. He states that he was born in 1949. He claims that they were married under customary law and parted ways in 1978.

He denies any knowledge of her being married to Nyachae.

"At no time during our marriage did the first applicant indicate that she was ever married to the Hon Simeon Nyachae and to the best of my knowledge she was never married to Hon. Simeon Nyachae," claims Machuki.

And Pondo claims that they married under Kisii customary law and had a son named John Paul. He also denies knowledge of her marriage to Nyachae.

He states that John Paul was baptised at Holy Family Cathedral (current Holy Family Basilica) by Reverend Thomas Maegher and his baptism card clearly indicated him as the father and Chweya as the mother.

  Grace Nyachae, the widow of former Cabinet Secretary Simeon Nyachae, addresses mourners who attended Nyachae's burial at Gusii stadium on January 15, 2021. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Meanwhile, a document that is part of the investigations claims that Chweya changed her name from Margaret Kerubo Chweya to Margaret Chweya Nyachae before a US court Judge Ovilia Rosales in 2021.

Another document also before the court alleges that John Paul Chweya changed his name to John Paul Chweya Nyandusi Nyachae on February 4, last year, before the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.

In her case, Chweya was opposed to Charles, Angela and Eric being granted powers as executors by the court.

She claims that she was married to Nyachae in a customary marriage in 1973. According to her, they had three children together.

At the same time, Chweya states that her children considered Nyachae as their father and have never recognised anyone else as such.

She further claimed that Nyachae provided for her and the children, even ordering banks to give her unsecured loans to protect her.

She claims that Charles knew her as a stepmother while the Nyachae's secretary informed her when he died through a text.

"My children have grown up knowing Mr Nyachae as their father and they have never considered anyone else as their father apart from Mr Simeon Nyachae. Simeon Nyachae was the one who ensured I and the children never lacked anything as he provided for us."


Charles Nyachae when he addressed a press conference at Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi to confirm death of h is father Simeon Nyachae. [File,Standard]

"Even at times, he will order a bank to give me a clean loan under his name which no collateral and the purpose of doing so was to protect me."

She added that the former minister relocated her and the children to the US to avoid issues with his wife.

Chweya says that she was always faithful to Nyachae and has never divorced him.

She alleges that she hired a consultancy firm in London to locate her husband when he was unwell and allegedly received information from Martha, one of Nyachae's other wives, that he was in London receiving treatment.

"I hired a consultancy firm based in London to help locate my husband so that we can pass and see him before heading back to the United States. I have always been faithful honest to my husband and never had any disagreement with him neither have we divorced.

"As his security watchman Peter Onsongo attests that my husband was proud of his wives me included."

Chweya claims that after he died, she got his death certificate, wrote to the area chief, who allegedly recognised her.

On the burial date, Chweya claims she was ordered to leave, which angered her son Rodney. "I begged my son not to say anything. Slowly we simply walked away," she said, adding that she acted when she saw a gazette notice requiring anyone who wants to claim an interest in the estate to file their opposition.

Chweya had initially tasked Lubulellah and Company advocates to argue her case. However, the firm told the court that they would cease representing her, as she had not communicated with the law firm. Meanwhile, she has hired a new law firm to continue with the case.

The case will be heard on Tuesday.

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