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It’s a noisy divorce for battle-hardened Mithika Linturi

Sunday August 25 2019

MITHIKA LINTURI

The divorce proceedings pitting Senator Mithika Linturi against Maryanne Keitany have been a thriller, sometimes revealing what in the world movies would be X-rated scenes. ILLUSTRATION | J NYAGAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JUSTUS WANGA
By JUSTUS WANGA
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When Ford Kenya party leader Moses Masika Wetang’ula promised his Nasa co-principal Raila Odinga a messy, noisy divorce that would have casualties after being ousted as Senate minority leader, Meru Senator Franklin Mithika Linturi should have paid closer attention.

Wetang’ula’s was underwhelming when it came to real action. The divorce proceedings, pitting Linturi against Maryanne Keitany - the former Chief of Staff at the office of the Deputy President - that have so far played out in the courts have been a thriller, sometimes revealing what in the world movies would be X-rated scenes.

With Linturi insisting he was never married to her, a calm and collected Keitany told the court that she chewed miraa as Linturi drunk Mursik (a specially fermented milk, a delicacy among the Nandis) to crown their marriage.

It is not clear why neither of the parties requested for in-camera sessions like is usually the case in family disputes. And if at all it was designed that way, couples who are in court or those planning to file for divorce have some learning to do.

BRIDE PRICE

They could easily get a medal for being the most public couple. Keitany says Linturi paid Sh100,000 bride price when he visited her parents’ home in Nandi and further also gifted her mother, Rhoda, with a new Nissan X-trail.

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“He told my mother that she could use the vehicle to go shopping, fetch water from the river and run errands because her daughter would no longer be available to do the job,” she said.

Revealing that the husband had been renting a house on Ngong Road, there are occasions she would bail him out when he fell behind with the rent worth Sh200,000.

The lawmaker has dismissed the claims of marriage, saying the case was malicious and meant to deprive him of his properties in Nairobi and Meru, which he acquired single-handedly.

He said there she had no proof of her contribution towards the acquisition of the properties.

WAIGURU OUSTER

Senator Linturi is a battle-hardened general. At one point, the University of Nairobi had to revoke a degree it awarded him on grounds of presenting fake papers to get admission.

But last year, he acquired a law degree from the same institution graduating alongside Deputy President William Ruto, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

Linturi went to Igembe Boys’ High School before proceeding to Meru Technical Institute.

Known for grass roots mobilisation skills, the senator teamed up with Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi under team Kikali to win almost all political seats in the county during the last General Election.

Born 50 years ago in Meru, Linturi met Keitany at the height of impeachment motion against Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, now Kirinyaga Governor.

Some 150 MPs had already signed up in support of the censure that shook Jubilee’s government to the core.

LOVE BLOSSOMING

In the end, then-Igembe South MP never showed up in parliament to table the motion as required by the standing orders, defeating it on a technicality.

And this past week, Keitany told the court that the same day Linturi was expected in the House, they were making out in Sopa Lodge, Naivasha.

“The DP gave me strict instructions to deal with Linturi’s regular complaints … And when the impeachment Motion was first tabled in Parliament, Linturi and I were at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge having a good time,” said Keitany.

Theirs mirrors the Biblical story of Samson versus Delilah, a tale of the mighty being outfoxed by the calculating ‘weak’.

In the story, Samson, the final Judge of Israel who possessed extraordinary strength, is felled by the trickery of the woman.

There are many recorded instances in history where loins have seen the downfall of great men even as the two reveal skeletons of their love life to the public.

LINTURI'S SINCERITY

And faced with allegations of diverting some Sh100 million to bribe MPs to shoot down the censure motion, Keitany was eventually forced to step aside in early 2015.

An accomplished IT expert, Keitany worked for the Kenya Railways Corporation, Energy Regulatory Commission, now Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

She has also worked at Hamilton Harrison and Mathews Advocates and as a part-time lecturer at Strathmore University.

If the revelations of derailing Linturi are anything to go by, Keitany may have single-handedly thwarted a scare that was possibly going to be Jubilee’s waterloo without firing ‘a single shot’. She choose love.

And the turn of events, if true, brings the MP’s sincerity into question. He felt this when immediately he dropped the censure plans his colleagues started suspecting him.

REGRET

They charged that he had used their signatures for personal gain. On that day, they left the chamber after the presentation of the Budget chanting, “Linturi must go”.

“Now I look bad in the eyes of the public. The impression created is that I was given money to do all these. This is a baggage I have carried for seven months now, but I have no regret because it was a course for which I was persuaded but my respect for the president carried the day,” he later lamented. The damage had been done.

At the time, Linturi told of the dramatic turn of events leading to the dropping of the motion.

He said the withdrawal letter was drafted by then-Solicitor-General Njee Muturi after the presidency became impatient with him over his reluctance to heed the call to withdraw the motion.