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.