What you need to know:
- Mr Murunga insisted in court that it is his right to get back his dowry, arguing that he was representing men who suffer in silence.
- He divorced from Irine Khasoa on the grounds that she had deserted their matrimonial home.
- The marriage was dissolved on October 12, 2021 by a Kitale court.
A Kitale court has referred the case of a 52-year-old man who is demanding a dowry refund from his in-laws to mediation.
Chief Magistrate Julius Ng’arng'ar told the court that a court mediator would be appointed to settle the matter.
If the matter is not settled, it will go back to the court for a judgment, he said.
"I have decided to refer this case to court annexed mediation for possible settlement. I do not see anything difficult in resolving the matter. Let's try this one first and in the event the matter is not settled then it will come back to me for judgment," the magistrate said.
Mr Wilberforce Murunga insisted in court that it is his right to get back his dowry, arguing that he was representing men who suffer in silence.
"I had issues with my ex-wife, like children. Customarily, if we had a son, that is two cows and a girl that is one cow. So I demand what is mine and my black sweat,” he said.
Mr Murunga is expected to go back to the United States in May.
He sought divorce from Irine Khasoa on the grounds that she had deserted their matrimonial home. The marriage was dissolved on October 12, 2021 by a Kitale court.
He said in court documents filed on December 6, 2021 that he lived with his ex-wife for about one year and six months when she started deserting their matrimonial home on several occasions.
Mr Murunga, who married Ms Khasoa in 2017 and paid her dowry as per the Bukusu customary law, says he wants the bride price back after the marriage hit the rocks less than two years into it.
“I paid Sh50,000, three Ayrshire heifers, one cross Ayrshire bullock, one she-goat, a pair of gumboots and a hat as bride price. I have a copy of the dowry negotiation agreement which was counter-signed by representatives of both families,” he said.
He is seeking a refund from his former mother-in-law. In the suit, he has also demanded interest on the cash and property.
He said he had travelled to the US for studies but cut short his education to return home.
"My wife was the reason I came back after two years in the United States. I used to send her money, but when she told me to return home and sire children with her, I just had to come home," he said.
The lawyer representing his ex-wife, Mr Kraido Majune, told the court that a man going back to the US should not demand dowry, “which is a small thing to follow”.
But Mr Murunga said his going back to the US had nothing to do with his demand for a refund.
"You see, I am also going to hustle in the US but I am only asking for my black sweat because you give to Caesar what belongs to him,” he said.
He said he is committed to getting his bride price back in full because he did not sire any children with the woman, which would have seen only a fraction of it returned in line with Bukusu customary laws.
“This is something that has been there since our forefathers. Whenever you divorce a woman whom you did not have children with you are supposed to get back the animals given as bride price or else you will be deemed to be still married to the woman even if you have divorced her legally,” he explained.
He said he is open to any out-of-court settlement.
"If the other parties agree to return my cows I have no problem," he said.
His former mother-in-law, Florence Khasoa, was not in court as she was bedridden due to an illness.