Senator Johnstone Muthama’s estranged wife has filed court papers demanding 50 per cent of his wealth. Agnes Kavindu, 57, married the wealthy Machakos senator in 1975, but the marriage collapsed in 1983 and ended in divorce.
Her court papers say, however, she was married a second time to the senator in 1996 and they were blessed with a baby.
The remarriage has been rocky, she says, but has not been dissolved and is the basis of her submitting papers to prove she is entitled to half of the controversial politician’s fortune.
But the marriage was plagued by troubles in the past five years, compelling Muthama to put up a palatial home on 100 acres in Machakos.
He demanded Kavindu leave the matrimonial home and move to the new house. But evangelist Kavindu would have none of it and has remained holed up in the 30-bedroom home that the politician reportedly is keen to convert into his political command post.
Senator Muthama, 60, has opposed the property claim through lawyer Ochieng’ Oduol. The lawyer told a High Court judge, before listening to her claims of property, that the court ought to establish whether a marriage existed between the two. The senator says there was no marriage between him and Kavindu because they were divorced in 1983.
She argued, however, that after the divorce they lived separately lives for years, but said the senator had a change of heart and decided they should remarry.
She accepted his proposal and lived in their matrimonial home, even bearing a child who is now 18 years old. She says that by virtue of cohabiting, there existed a marriage.
The judge noted that some of the issues raised by the senator in his objection are contested by Kavindu and thus he needs to investigate the disputed facts.
“Even though it is not disputed that the decree of divorce was granted in 1983, there are allegations of cohabitation, allegations which the court must investigate, and a decision can only be made on the basis of a full knowledge of these facts, such as can only be obtained from the proceedings on the merits,” said judge William Musyoka.
He ruled that he is not satisfied that a proper preliminary objection has been raised or argued by the senator. In a separate case, Kavindu has told court she has resisted eviction from the property, that she has been treated badly and deprived of her right to drinking water, despite having two boreholes in the palatial property. In her suit papers fighting the eviction, she says the water was disconnected, forcing her to use swimming pool water for washing and bathing.
She told the court her son Moses removed all household furnishings, including cutlery, a cooker and fridge, in an effort to force her out. Kavindu said Muthama even ordered that a swarm of bees be placed in the house to drive her away. She accused the senator of denying her friends and relatives access to the house to ensure she suffers in solitude. “My home for the last 18 years has turned into a nightmare for me,” she said.
Yesterday, judge Musyoka directed electricity be reconnected and water resupplied to the house. He said an electrician and plumber should be allowed in to work.
Last month the senator and his son Moses are said to have ordered a guard to lock up a group of Federation of Kenya Women Lawyers who had visited Kavindu. The parties are expected back in court next week.