Former First Lady of Machakos County Lilian Ng’ang’a shook many heads on Thursday during a presser when she said that she was not married to the County’s Governor Alfred Mutua.
According to Ng’ang’a, they were both in a long-term relationship for nine years before they decided to conclude their relation in September this year.
“I requested him for a mature and amicable separation and reminded him that. after all, we were not marred,” Ng’ang’a said.
Ng’ang’a went public to address Mutua, asking him to stop threatening her life and the people around her.
Accompanied by her lawyer Senior Counsel Philip Murgor, Lilian claimed that she has been receiving threat messages from the county boss.
She also claimed that Governor Mutua demanded all the money he invested in her over the years, making many people wonder whether they were married or not.
Over the years, people believe that once a couple has lived together for many years, there is an automatic marriage under common law.
But what does the laws says about this? 254 News reached out to Stephen Bikambo of Bikambo and Company Advocates to help tackle this issue. He explained that “there has been an erroneous belief that a couple does not need to get into the rigours and formalities of marriage, when they can simply stay together for a long period of time and they will be ‘deemed’ to be married under the law.
In the spectrum of marriage, there exists a legal position with regards to established doctrine of Presumption Marriage according to the Marriage Act 2014.
Begi’s Law Companies and Advocates cites an incident back in the years of Hortensiah Wanjiku Yaweh versus Public Trustee (Civil Appeal 13 of 1976) where the court established the need for long cohabitation before anybody moving to the court, can establish a presumption of marriage.
“The presumption does not depend on the law or a system of marriage. The presumption is just an assumption based on a very long cohabitation and repute that the parties are husband and wife.” the court stated.
Later on in 2014, in the case of Joseph Gitau Githongo versus Victoria Mwihaki (2014) eKLR, the court stated as follows:
“It (presumption of marriage) is a concept born from an appreciation of the needs of the realities of life when a man and woman cohabit for a long period without solemnizing that union by going through a recognized form of marriage, then a presumption of marriage arises.”
Ng’ang’a insists that they were not legally married and demands that the Governor returns property which belongs to her. But what doe the law says about this?
The Marriage Act states that “ If the woman is left stranded either by cast away by the “husband”, or otherwise he dies, occurrence which do happen, the law subject to the requisite proof, bestows the status of “wife” upon the woman to enable her to qualify for maintenance or a share in the estate of her deceased “husband.”
Article 45(3) of the Kenyan Constitution also states that ‘Parties to a marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of the marriage, during the marriage, and at the dissolution of the marriage’.