Millie Odhiambo: How I’ll ensure men are forced to declare their out-of-wedlock children

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 1 Aug, 2019 20:56 | 3 mins read
Millie Odhiambo says she is “proudly childless” despite Mike Sonko attacking her over her inability to conceive. [PHOTO | FILE]
Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo. PHOTO/COURTESY
Millie Odhiambo says she is “proudly childless” despite Mike Sonko attacking her over her inability to conceive. [PHOTO | FILE]

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo says she will propose an amendment to the Marriage Act, 2014, introducing a binding directive that compels men to declare all the children they have.

If her suggestion convinces other MPs to endorse it, then a man’s children born in and out of wedlock will have to be identified to the State by their fathers.

Millie Odhiambo says the move will help avert situations where women show up and claim they have children with a man, who has since died.

The MP’s remarks were triggered by happenings at the memorial service of the Late Kibra representative to the National Assembly, Ken Okoth, which was held at the Moi Girls’ High School in Nairobi.

During the function, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko took to the podium to allege that the Late Okoth had a son with Sonko’s former employee at the Sonko Rescue Team namely Anne Muthoni Thumbi.

“The Late Ken Okoth has a child named Okoth with one Anitah [Anne Muthoni], who is a nominated MCA in the County Assembly of Nairobi. Let us not lie to ourselves,” said the governor.

Sonko’s statement came just two days after Ken Okoth’s mother, Angeline Ajwang Ongere, said that her son never sired a baby with any woman.

Sonko’s Thursday revelation sparked a heated debate on social media on whether men should -- from the word go – tell their spouses the number of children they have out of wedlock.

Suba North legislator, Millie Odhiambo, thinks people shouldn’t even debate on that, but instead amend the law to coerce men to declare all the children they sired within marriage and extramaritally.

“I am bringing an amendment to the Marriage Act [2014] compelling all men to publicly declare their children in and out of wedlock while alive. In case they [men] don’t, the [children’s] mothers should declare. Mourning with shocks and counter-shocks can cause another funeral,” said Millie Odhiambo in a post on her official Facebook page Thursday.

The implementation of such a directive – should it successfully pass through Parliament – will, most likely, be difficult to execute, given it will be impossible to “punish” a dead man who did not abide by the law when he was alive.

Ken Okoth is not the only prominent man, who upon death, a woman has come out to claim that she has a baby with him.

-Jacob Juma-

On May 14, 2016, three women claiming to be the Late businessman Jacob Juma's wives showed up at Juma’s burial ceremony in Mung’ore Village in Bungoma County with four children, saying they were sired by Juma.

A woman identified as Pamela Lukuku from Tanzania declared that they were all wives to the deceased.

It was not clear whether the women were legally married to Juma, but the only wife known to the public then was Miriam Wairimu who had two children with Juma.

-William Ntimama-

In September 2016, a 46-year-old man, George Njoroge, came out to claim that he was the son of former Cabinet Minister, William Ntimama, who died on September 1, 2016.

Njoroge claimed Ntimama left his mother to single-handedly raise him.

Njoroge’s move to stop Ntimama’s burial on September 14, 2016 suffered a blow, when the court declined to grant him his wish.

-Otieno Kajwang-

Drama unfolded at the Lee Funeral Home on November 21, 2014 after a woman who was claiming to be the legal wife of the Late Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ was locked out of the Funeral Parlour. Kajwang’ died on November 18, 2014.

The woman identified as Faith Vivian Otieno and her then-18-year-old daughter, Christie Otieno, and some relatives were barred from the facility.

She protested that she was the late Senator’s legal wife and had a right to view the body of the deceased senator as well as participate in funeral arrangements.

She said: “I have been married for 19 years to Otieno Kajwang’. We have two children, Christie who just completed high School and Ronnie Odinga Otieno, 19, who is in Kabarak University. Let it be known that I am not his girlfriend but his legal wife. In fact, when she was in the UK, I was the one living with Kajwang’.”

Kajwang’s wife Rose Kajwang’ was inside the facility during the fracas but walked out with Siaya Senator James Orengo at around 12.30PM into a waiting car and did not speak to the press.