Public love and secret affairs in Kenya's Parliament

The Kenyan Parliament. (Courtesy)

Apart from Parliament’s main duty of enacting legislation, playing oversight and representing their electorate, the august House is a hunting ground for love. 

It was in the 13th Parliament that Mathira MP Eric Wa Mumbi discovered love after he found his better half, Betty Maina, the Murang’a Women Rep.

At least the two were brave enough to make their love life public unlike many MPs who keep their intimacy brewed right inside the precincts of Bunge under wraps and away from the public eye.

Months after being sworn in, feelings between the two first timers could not be hidden and after declaring their love, they have remained an item. Wa Mumbi even accompanies his wife to public events in Murang’a.

In April, the Mathira MP found himself at the centre of chaos in Kigumo, Murang’a, involving his wife and other women leaders including Mary Waithira Wamaua (Maragua) Sabina Chege (Nominated) and Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome, who differed in public.

The process of marriage between the two started in April 23 last year when the would-be husband conducted the first round of Kikuyu customary dowry negotiations that climaxed in the dowry-paying ceremony (ruracio) in November.

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua attended the negotiations, with the latter acting as the chief spokesperson, whose role was to steer the talks on behalf of the MP.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro was the chief agent in the process of handing over Betty to Eric while his political friends Babu Owino, Anne Waiguru, Mutahi Kahiga, Sylvanus Osoro and Gathoni Wamuchomba participated in the ceremony.

While the two legislators have pronounced their love publicly, their colleagues in the august House are like the Biblical David who, though consumed by love, find it difficult to openly express their affection for each other. 

Take the case of a Woman Rep and Senator from Mt Kenya region who are often seen together in Parliament and social gatherings.

“They no longer hide their love and feelings of each other. We wonder why they don’t want to make it official,” a source within Parliament told The Nairobian.

Another love affair involves two MPs from neighbouring counties. The male MP regularly accompanies his secret lover to functions in her constituency.

Like other affairs, theirs is said to have been brewed in Parliament and started a few months after they were elected.

Romantic affairs are not new in Parliament as most of the elected leaders are known to engage in extra marital affairs with multiple partners.

Nominated Senator Karen Nyamu has admitted to being married to Mugithi artiste Samuel Muchoki, popularly known as Samidoh.

In an interview with NTV in October last year, Nyamu said she had not broken any law by being in her ‘situation’.

“Sheria ya polygamy ambayo imepitishwa kwa Bunge yetu, sijavunja sheria yoyote kukuwa katika situation mimi niko (There is a law on polygamy that was passed in our Parliament. I have not broken any law),” she said.

In 2014, Parliament passed a bill allowing men to marry multiple wives. The bill passed on March 20, 2014, amended the marriage law and formalised customary law about marrying more than one person.

It initially gave the first wife the right to approve her husband’s choice for a second wife, but male MPs united and pushed through amendments that expunged the clause.

Nyamu has been in a relationship with Samidoh despite the musician being married to Edday Nderitu.

Edday, however, said in July last year that she was not in a polygamous marriage and that she had left Samidoh and relocated with her children to the United States following a number of public confrontations that nearly turned physical during Samidoh’s concerts.

She said on her Facebook page that she is no longer married to the musician saying her decision to leave Kenya was to save her children from a toxic environment.

“I have managed to sustain my kids’ needs so far with no help and I am not regretting any bit. I don’t need any drama, I need peace,” Edday said.

She said the singer had turned their relationship into a public affair by going public with Nyamu.

“I left the husband for whoever needed him more,” said the mother of three.



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