The Nakuru Chief Magistrate’s Court on Friday, December 6, rejected a 72-year-old man’s bid to have the money he paid as dowry for his wife be refunded after his marriage was terminated.
The court was told that Joel Lagat Maina exchanged wedding vows with Joyce Chemutai, 65, on January 31, 1992 at the Registrar of Marriages office, but their union started being turbulent in 1994 after Lagat allegedly left Chemutai for another woman.
Chemutai said cruelty was the reason she left her matrimonial home in Salgaa, Nakuru County in 1994.
The respondent further told the court that since 1994, Lagat would deny her her conjugal rights.
The couple formally stopped living together as husband and wife in 1998.
On August 20, 2018, Chemutai filed a divorce suit at the Nakuru Magistrate’s Court, citing the mentioned reasons as grounds for her application.
In a countersuit dated September 5, 2018, Lagat denied the allegations, instead, accusing his wife of being unfaithful, a claim that was dismissed by the magistrate, who said Lagat did not provide evidence to prove his allegations.
In her judgement dated December 6, 2019, Senior Resident Magistrate Yvonne Khatambi said: “I have carefully considered the evidence on record. I note that the parties have lived separately for close to 27 years…. The petitioner stated that she was not interested in reconciliation. The respondent, on the other hand, averred that he was interested in the dissolution. Parties appeared in court on January 22, 2019. They were directed to make an attempt to iron out their problems with the aim of reconciling. The matter was mentioned several times. It was apparent that the parties were unable to agree causing the matter to be set down for hearing.
“… Taking note of the circumstances leading to the separation and the duration spent apart, any reasonable person would conclude that the marriage had broken down and cannot be salvaged… Consequently, the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent celebrated on 31 January 1992 is hereby dissolved,” said the magistrate.
“The respondent urged the court to order the petitioner to refund his dowry. I wish to point out that parties are bound by their pleadings. The respondent never sought the said-prayer in his pleadings; he never addressed the same in his evidence. This issue was raised in his submissions. As a consequence, the same must fail,” ruled the magistrate.