A Nairobi court Tuesday adjourned divorce proceedings filed by Ms Marianne Kitany after she said she was mourning the death of her father-in-law on Monday.
But her estranged husband, Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, opposed the adjournment, arguing that Ms Kitany should not take advantage of his father's death to delay the case.
He argued through lawyer Muthomi Thiankolu that Ms Kitany was “weeping louder than the bereaved”, and that the matter should proceed because of the hardships he was undergoing after she obtained orders freezing his accounts and properties.
After hearing both parties, Chief Magistrate Peter Gesora adjourned the matter to today because Ms Kitany was not in court.
He said he would not delve into claims that Mr Peter Linturi was shocked to hear Ms Kitany claiming she was the one who built him a house, when “he has able sons and daughters”.
Ms Kitany told court that she is not ready to proceed with the case as she is mourning the death of her “father in-law”.
Through her lawyer Danstan Omari, Ms Kitany said she was planning to travel to Igembe to take part in the burial plans.
“On behalf of the petitioner, we are not ready to proceed. She lost her father in-law, who passed on last night. She is mourning and in the process of going to Meru to be part and parcel of the burial programme,” Mr Omari said.
“She cannot proceed with this matter. I have very strong instructions from her to pass her sincere condolences to her husband and the entire Igembe people.”
Mr Omari said his client would be ready to proceed with the case after the burial.
“It is totally unAfrican for him to say they are ready to proceed. She is saying the dead person is her father-in-law. She will be ready to proceed when she is emotionally stable,” he added.
But Mr Linturi’s lawyers— Muthoni Thiankolu and Prof George Wajakoyah— opposed the delay, saying their client was determined to continue with the case.
“It is very difficult to speak about death but it is unfortunate to use it. It is presumptuous and unfortunate to use it to determine the issue which is before this court,” Mr Thiankolu said.
He punched holes in Ms Kitany’s claim that the senior Linturi was her father-in-law.
“Whether senior Linturi is a father-in-law is matter to be determined. The instructions I received was that unfortunate as the event might be, we should proceed,” he said.
Mr Thiankolu said the senator would not entertain any further delays in the case because it had held “many aspects of his life in abeyance and in limbo”.
“The petitioner cannot be heard to be crying louder than the bereaved,” he said.
“Soon after obtaining orders she has latched on them and dragged the matter. We should proceed expeditiously. We cannot lose sight of the hardship he is undergoing.”
And through Prof Wajakoyah, Mr Linturi said his father was unhappy because of scandalous allegations that Mr Kitany built him a house when he has sons and daughters.
“To make it worse, a woman from another tribe yet he has able sons. It was scandalous for a Meru elder, a Njuri Ncheke,” he said.
But Mr Omari replied: “If it true that he was shocked that it is her who built the house, then I sympathise with him”.
Chief Magistrate Peter Gesora said he would not delve into claims that Ms Kitany was Linturi senior’s daughter-in-law.
Additionally, he said he would not focus on defence lawyers’ claim that Ms Kitany’s built a house that shocked senior Linturi.
Those two claims, the magistrate said, are matters to be determined later in the case.
The court adjourned until Wednesday because Ms Kitany was not in court.