By Lazarus Maitha.
A middle-aged woman shocked a Mombasa magistrates court on Tuesday, when she alleged that her husband of 15 years mistreated her by locking her inside their house for three months over claims that she prioritised the sick over her marriage.
Hellen Chelanga lodged a complaint against her husband, Evans Manyenyo, who is a bishop in one of the churches in Mombasa.
According to Florence Agai, who is one of the witnesses and a member of Manyenyo’s church, the accused told her and other congregants that he detained his wife “to stop her from visiting ailing church members at their homes”.
“He told us that Florence had become notorious for absconding wifely duties under the excuse that she was dedicating her time to visit the sick,” Agai told magistrate Joshua Nyariki.
Chelanga, on her end, says her husband was infuriated when she got employed by a Mombasa nongovernmental organisation as a social worker.
“He wasn’t happy that I got employed as a social worker. Immediately after getting the job, he vowed to teach me a lesson. It was at that point that he began locking me up in our bedroom the whole day. He would often pass a bucket to me and say: ‘should you feel like answering a long or short call, do it in that bucket’.
“My husband only opened the bedroom door in the evening upon returning home,” Chelanga, who was a preacher in Manyenyo’s church, told the court.
Another witness, who also attends Manyenyo’s church, Ephraim Amugune, said he got suspicious when Chelanga failed to attend church for nearly three months.
“Every time we inquired, the bishop told us that his wife was ailing,” said Amugune.
Chelanga says she discovered recently that her husband married a younger woman, who is a member of their church.
On his part, Manyenyo says he detained his wife as “punishment” for coming home late and “denying me conjugal rights”.
The ruling on whether the accused infringed on his wife’s rights will be made on August 8 this year.