By Robi Omondi
The mother of Marianne Kitany, the ex-DP Ruto chief of staff, says on March 26, 2016, she and other Rift Valley elders asked Meru Senator Mithika Linturi whether he genuinely loved Marianne, or he was after her wealth.
Rodah Chepkoech Kitany, 65, told a Nairobi court on Tuesday, September 24, that they asked Linturi that question when he arrived at her home in Nandi to pay dowry for their daughter.
Chepkoech told the court that her daughter had informed her that she had found the love of her life in 2014, and that later that year , the lovebirds were to travel to Australia to “know each other well”.
“In 2016, my daughter told me that she wanted to bring Linturi home so that he could pay dowry. I welcomed the plan. I, therefore, invited my relatives from Kericho,” said Chepkoech.
The sexagenarian narrated that before the scheduled introduction date – March 26 – Linturi arrived in Nandi, and went straight to Chepkoech’s church and took part in a fundraiser.
“He came to the church where I am a preacher accompanied by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, the now-Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, now-Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, among other leaders. During the harambee, Linturi gave us Ksh1 million. The leaders, who had arrived in Nandi in six choppers, thereafter flew to my home, located near the church.
“At home, I prepared them lunch. They ate and left,” said Chepkoech.
The witness in the Linturi-Kitany divorce row said the second time he encountered Linturi was in Nairobi, where he gave her Ksh300, 000 for accommodation in California, USA, where she was to travel to.
And, on March 25, Kitany flew home ahead of her formal dowry payment slated for the following day, Chepkoech said.
“On March 26, Linturi arrived at my home accompanied by 19 people. They brought with them njahi, ndengu and yams, foods which were foreign to us,” said Chepkoech.
“I can confirm that Linturi and his people came to my home. They decided which people, from their end, would be allowed to take part in the dowry negotiations. From our end, we settled on six people. The dowry negotiations took place in my living room. According to our culture, should women be allowed to the negotiation table, they are prohibited from speaking; they only watch. My aunt, sister, brother-in-law, area MCA were among the people from my end who took part in the process,” said Chepkoech.
“I even remember the clothes Linturi wore on that day – a checkered shirt and a purple pair of trousers.
“The dowry was supposed to be in the form of animals, but Linturi’s team said it would be cumbersome to transport animals all the way from Meru. So, they gave us cash – Ksh100, 000 – as dowry.
“All through the dowry negotiation process, Marianne was locked up in her room. Once we had agreed on the dowry, she was asked to come and identify her man. She was asked if she was sure she wanted to marry Linturi, she said ‘yes’. She was asked if she loved him, she said ‘yes’.
“Linturi was also asked the same set of questions, to which he answered in the affirmative. He was also asked if he was sure he loved Marianne and not her wealth, he said he loved her genuinely, and not her money,” said Chepkoech.
The witness told the court that, just the same way her in-laws from Meru visited her often, she too toured Meru on several occasions.
“I went to Meru and met Linturi’s father during the 2016 Christmas holiday,” said Chepkoech, adding: “I went there in my capacity as an in-law.”
Chepkoech said that it was after 2016 that her daughter began complaining that Linturi was out to forcefully grab her property.
The 65-year-old told the court that her daughter complained that Linturi had taken away her title deeds.
“We later met with Linturi’s people and resolved that he returns the title deeds to Marianne. It was then that my daughter began receiving threats from her husband. The case is before the DCI.
“Later, I heard that my daughter had been thrown out of her Runda home. Her children were screaming for help, my daughter and her sister were crying out in the open,” said Chepkoech.
The witness testimony continues at the Milimani Law Courts.