Maryanne Jebet Kitany, the estranged wife to Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, has maintained that the two were officially married under the Nandi and Meru customary laws.
Testifying at the Milimani Law Courts on Wednesday, the former Chief of Staff in the Deputy President William Ruto’s office revealed that the politician formalised their relationship in 2016.
The court heard that Linturi offered Kitany’s family Ksh100, 000 in dowry payment.
“They were asked for cows and paid it in Ksh. 100,000 cash. Linturi also mentioned that he had other gifts for my mom but was told he will give the gifts outside the house. The cash was given to my uncle who represented my father,” Kitany said.
According to the 45-year-old, Linturi even drunk mursik (tradition fermented milk) to seal the marriage.
“Even though he (Linturi) doesn’t like mursik, he took it because it’s a requirement in Kalenjin tradition. For the sake of my marriage, I also tasted miraa,” she added.
Linturi, however, in his suit papers, argues that he was not married to Kitany, saying he was already in a Christian marriage, which was monogamous.
He states that Kitany’s prayer for divorce cannot be granted, as she was not legally married to him.
“Divorce can only be granted if the marriage is legally valid. It will be a waste of time for this case to proceed to a full trial since the respondent had no capacity to enter into any form of marriage with the petitioner,” said his lawyer Muthomi Thiankolu in court documents.
Kitany, however, dismissed the claims saying that before they were officially married, Linturi told her that he had divorced his three other spouses; Susan Gacheri Kimani, Mercy Kaimenyi and Hellen Mumbi Kariuki.
“I came in as the fourth wife” she said.
During this time, she invested both her feelings and resources in the relationship and even helped the senator clear his rent arrears.
She noted that Linturi’s financial problems is one of the reasons why she accommodated him in her house.
“Mithika used to have rent arrears. At some point I gave him Sh200,000 for rent,” said Kitany.
The court heard how the two began the construction of their Ksh36 million house in Meru in 2016.
“The chunk of that money was from my pocket…I gave Ksh. 26million. I gave out that money because we had agreed to stay together as husband and wife…,” she said.
On Tuesday, Kitany testified that the two became lovers while on a getaway in Naivasha in 2014.
She told the court that she took Linturi to Naivasha to block him from tabling a motion against the impeachment of then Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.
“We were in Sopa lodges … parliament was going on …our relationship started going because the public felt that I had given him money to sponsor the motion,” she said.
She said Naivasha getaway decision was a well-calculated move that was planned by a team from the DP’s office to save Waiguru from the planned impeachment.
She disclosed that after the Naivasha meeting the two became inseparable and even took all their six children for a bonding trip in Zanzibar.
“It was an agreement that they be taken to Zanzibar for two weeks …. After the trip the children came straight to my house…The purpose was for them to bond because we were planning to start a life together,” she disclosed on Wednesday.
The court also heard that in December 2014, the couple travelled to Australia to have all the children study together at a cost of Ksh. 11million, which she paid.
In June 2015, the two took a one year lease in Runda to enable them to accommodate their six children as they construct and renovate the house in Meru.
The two have been embroiled in a bitter divorce which saw Linturi receive an injunction not to remove Kitany from their Runda home.
The court adjourned to September 28.