A man is in court seeking a dowry refund from his in-laws.
Wilberforce Murunga’s, 52, case was on Wednesday referred to mediation by Kitale chief magistrate Julius Ng’arng’ar.
Ng’arng’ar stated that if the problem is not resolved, it will be returned to the court for a decision.
“I have decided to refer this case to court annexed mediation for possible settlement. I do not see anything difficult in resolving the matter. Let’s try this one first and in the event the matter is not settled then it will come back to me for judgment,” the magistrate said.
The petitioner argued that he has a legal right to his dowry, claiming that he was representing males who suffer in silence.
“I had issues with my ex-wife, like children. Customarily, if we had a son, that is two cows and a girl that is one cow. So I demand what is mine and my black sweat,” he said.
In May, Murunga is set to return to the United States.
He filed for divorce from Irine Khasoa, claiming that she had abandoned their marital home. A Kitale court annulled the marriage on October 12, 2021.
In court records filed on December 6, 2021, the complainant stated that he had been living with his estranged wife for almost a year and six months when she began deserting their marital home.
Murunga, who married Ms Khasoa in 2017 and paid her dowry in accordance with Bukusu traditional law, claims he is entitled to the bride price after the marriage fell apart less than two years later.
“I paid Sh50,000, three Ayrshire heifers, one cross Ayrshire bullock, one she-goat, a pair of gumboots and a hat as bride price. I have a copy of the dowry negotiation agreement which was counter-signed by representatives of both families,” he said.
He is suing his ex-mother-in-law Florence Khosoa for a refund. She, however, was not in court as she is ailing.
He has also asked for interest on the money and property.
He claimed that he had gone to the United States to study, but cut short his trip to sire children.
“My wife was the reason I came back after two years in the United States. I used to send her money, but when she told me to return home and sire children with her, I just had to come home,” he said.
Kraido Majune, Ms Khasoa’s lawyer, told the court that a man returning to the United States should not seek dowry, “which is a small thing to follow.”
But according to Murunga, his return to the United States had nothing to do with his demand for a refund.
“You see, I am also going to hustle in the US but I am only asking for my black sweat because you give to Caesar what belongs to him,” he said.
He stated that he is devoted to receiving his bride price in its entirety because he did not have any children with the woman, which would have resulted in only a percentage of it being returned under Bukusu customary norms.
“This is something that has been there since our forefathers. Whenever you divorce a woman whom you did not have children with you are supposed to get back the animals given as bride price or else you will be deemed to be still married to the woman even if you have divorced her legally,” he elucidated.
The court also heard that Murunga is open to an out-of-court settlement.
“If the other parties agree to return my cows I have no problem,” he added.