The pastor mother of Marianne Kitany on Tuesday testified to prove to the court that her daughter was married to Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
Rhoda Chepkoech reminisced about the thoughtful gestures of her ‘son-in-law’ when bought her a car as a gift and contributed Sh1 million for her church fundraiser.
She removed the car keys from her pocket, dangled them and thanked Linturi for giving her the car that she says helped her spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Chepkoech said that the car was outside the court and the court could go to see it, adding that she has been driving it since 2016.
But she also sensationally claimed that the senator took her title deeds that were in Kitany’s custody and used them as collateral for a loan. To date, she has not seen the deeds, though Linturi promised to return them, she testified.
But testifying about happier times, Chepkoech said that Linturi visited her home when the two went through a Nandi traditional wedding ceremony and left there as husband and wife.
For Chepkoech it was difficult testimony, as she said it was taboo to tell a court about things that took place at a traditional wedding. She said, however, that she was convinced she had to shed light on what she called a genuine marriage.
Her daughter Kitany and the senator are in court fighting over matrimonial property. Linturi says he never married Kitany, saying she was just a visitor, while the woman has gone to great lengths to show that the two were an affectionate couple and Linturi was publicly demonstrative.
Chepkoech kept referring to the senator as Mheshimiwa (Honourable), a title she said she uses because her culture does not allow her to call her son in law by his name.
The mother said the legislator first came to her rural home for a church fundraiser where he contributed Sh1 million in cash. However, she was not aware that he was dating her daughter at that time.
“As a pastor at Africa Gospel church, I thank my son in law who came for a fundraiser before the ceremony in my church,” the court heard.
Chepkoech sent the courtroom into fits of laughter when she thanked Linturi, who was present in court, for donating Sh1 million to her church.
“He came accompanied by several politicians and he contributed Sh1 million cash. I thank you, my son-in-law, for what you did that day,” Kitany’s mother said.
She said that they managed to raise Sh4.2 million that helped the church greatly.
“It was the biggest function and a total of six choppers came for the fundraiser and later the same choppers landed in my home and they had lunch,” Chepkoech said.
Among those present at the fundraiser were Osar Sudi, Kipchumba Murkomen, Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Farouk Kibet, Energy CS Charles Keter and Governor Stephen Sang who was the senator at the time, she said.
It was also her testimony that MP Oscar Sudi knelt before her and asked for her daughter’s hand in marriage on behalf of the senator.
Chepkoech told Chief Magistrate Peter Gesora that Sudi had accompanied Linturi to a fundraiser, then he went to where she was standing and asked that for her daughter’s hand in marriage.
She said that Kitany informed her in 2014 that they were going to Australia to get to know each other with Linturi and their children.
Later in 2016, Kitany told her that they wanted to come home for an introduction and as a mother, she prepared for the function, just as any mum would.
She prepared for Linturi and his people by inviting all her friends and family for the occasion, she said.
Linturi arrived with about 20 people and a pick-up truck full of food, she testified.
She says at the traditional wedding Linturi was asked if he loved her daughter and he told the gathering that he did love her.
Linturi was asked if he was already married and he said he was divorced , she said.
Chepkwony said that as a pastor, she would not have allowed Kitany to marry a married man.
She confirmed that the traditional marriage rites were performed and to her, the two were married according to Nandi tradition.
Chepkoech also told court that Linturi brought a car for her on the same day and presented it to her at the ceremony.
However, the car is still under the name of Linturi’s Atticon company, which has paid the insurance to date.
She said that Kitany left with the Meru people that evening since they were married according to tradition.
Kitany’s mother said that all the children including Linturi’s children used to visit her during holidays and considered her their grandmother
The court also heard that she had visited Meru several times and interacted with Linturi Sr, who has since died.
Chepkoech reported the ‘missing’ title deeds matter to the DCI and it’s still under investigation, she said.
The emotional mother told the court that she was saddened at the turn of events in her daughter’s marriage.
Since Kitany was her first-born, she gave her the title deeds to keep, her mother said.
Kitany has strengthened her legal team by adding a Catholic nun to the excitement of the court.
The court heard that Sr Dr Leonida King’ola was among the first nuns in Kenya to practice law in court.
Earlier in the day, Lawyer Danstan Omari accused Linturi’s side of threatening their witnesses at his father’s burial.
He wanted EALA MP Mpuru Amburi to be summoned to explain why he threatened witnesses in the case.
He is alleged to have said at the burial that the witnesses in the case will be cursed by Njuri Ncheke, the Meru Council of Elders.