A court in Kitale has granted a 52-year-old man’s wish to be refunded the dowry he paid for his wife.
It was a big win for Wilberforce Murunga when the Kitale Mediation Court ordered that three cows, a she-goat and Sh20,000 be returned to him by his in-laws.
And on Saturday, at around 9.30 am, Murunga and his brother Fred Matumbayi proceeded to Kiungani at the chief’s office in Baraton to pick his three cows and a goat from his in-laws.
In April 2019, at his Bungoma home, Murunga had paid Sh50,000, three Ayrshire heifers, one cross Ayrshire bullock, one she-goat, one pair of gumboots and a hat as bride price.
However, in the undersigned parties' agreement, Murunga forfeited one cow and Sh30,000 as a token of appreciation and the rest of the items.
“I am happy that the court has served me justice. Since the defendant happens to be a lawyer, I never thought I would win this case and I thank God,” Murunga told The Standard.
According to Murunga, despite intimidation from his ex-wife Irine Khasoa, his determination kept him going, adding: “I believe everyone is equal before the law no matter your status.”
Murunga claimed his in-laws were unable to provide for all the animals and money due to the harsh economic times.
The animals would be transported to his village home in Chwele, Bungoma for the Balunda clan to confirm.
“Now we are officially not husband and wife anymore. She is free to move on and likewise since the dowry has been refunded,” he stated.
Bolstered by the ruling, Murunga urged men to come out of their comfort zone and use the court to settle such disputes instead of suffering in silence.
On April 14, a Kitale court referred the case to mediation.
Chief Magistrate Julius Ng’arng’ar told the court that a court mediator would be appointed to settle the matter.
“If the matter is not settled, it will go back to the court for a judgment,” said the magistrate.
Murunga had insisted in court that it is his right to get back his dowry.
He added: “I had issues with my ex-wife, like children. Customarily, if we had a son, it would be two cows and for a girl, it would be one cow. So I demand what is mine and my sweat.”
Murunga is expected to go back to the United States in May. He sought divorce from Khasoa on the grounds that she had deserted their matrimonial home.
The marriage was dissolved on October 12, 2021, by a Kitale court.
He said in court documents filed on December 6, 2021, that he lived with his ex-wife for about one year and six months when she allegedly started deserting their matrimonial home on several occasions.