I would have been harmed - Maryanne Kitany on skipping father-in-law’s funeral

Maryanne Kittany [Photo: George Njunge, Standard]

The cameras and journalists' eyes kept scanning the crowds overflowing the tent at the Athi Primary School in Igembe South.

It was the funeral of Peter Linturi, 74, whose children include Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.

Occasionally, a few journalists would pace the compound, while others keenly scanned the live broadcast beamed mostly by a vernacular television station.

They were looking for an important guest, but who never showed up.

Maryanne Jebet Kitany, the estranged wife of the senator, had indicated on Monday that she would attend the funeral of a man she considered a friendly father-in-law.

Many who knew the power couple in their happy days said the senior Linturi had a liking for Ms Kitany. In their tussle with Linturi, which is ongoing at the High Court in Nairobi, the senator has described the former Chief of Staff at the Deputy President's office as a visitor who overstayed.

Yesterday, Kitany said she kept off the funeral due to security concerns. She had wanted to attend but turned back apparently after getting wind of possible violence.

"I was informed that goons had been hired to block my entry to the venue and had I succeeded to gain entry, I would have been harmed. So I chose to turn back and watch his funeral proceedings on media," she said in a statement last evening.

Kitany was not mentioned in the obituary as a wife of the senator, but high school teacher Mary Kaimenyi was named as the wife of the third term legislator.

In her statement, Kitany spoke of the pain of losing her father-in-law and missing his funeral.

"I have such fond memories of the times we spent together. For example, I do remember taking him to Karen Hospital early last year together with my mother-in-law after they both fell sick, and after they recuperated in my house in Runda I decided to drive them back to Meru," she recalled.

"On my way to Meru, while taking them home after treatment, we were involved in an accident at Sagana. Luckily, we all suffered minor injuries. In the hospital, as we were seeking treatment, he made lots of jokes with me and my siblings, who were all in hospital to console us."

She added: "There is a lot more I could share in terms of fond memories. May his soul rest in peace."