Mother can support child: Kenneth Marende won’t pay Sh35,000 monthly upkeep

Kenneth Marende [Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri]

Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Merende won’t have to pay monthly upkeep to a woman he has denied ever cohabiting with as man and wife.

Marende was in September 2013 directed by a court to pay Sh35,000 as monthly stipend to Jennifer Nkowua after the court ruled in her favour.

Jennifer has one child. The court ruled that Marende should pay school fees for the child.

Jennifer had claimed that Marende had failed to pay school fees and other family needs.

The court directed that Marende pay her Sh35, 000 a month. But Marende appealed the ruling and the High Court has now partly upheld and partly dismissed the initial orders by the trial court.

Marende stated that the trial court misdirected itself in determining that he had not disclosed his income and disregarded his replying affidavits on issues not proved by contrary evidence.

In the court papers, Marende further stated that he was not in salaried employment and had financial burden of supporting six children and aged parents, thus taking the child to a boarding school would not be financially viable for him.

Kenneth Marende [Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri]

He added that Jennifer could sustain both herself and the child and that she was dishonest in not disclosing her financial capacity, claiming he had set up a business for her and that she had vacated their home with, among other things, a car.

In his submission, Marende stated he never cohabited with Jennifer as husband and wife as he lacked capacity since he was in statutory marriage to his wife.

Marende’s first wife, Dr Lavender Marende passed on in April, 2005, but they had long been separated at the time of her death. He married his second wife in 2002 under the Bunyore customary laws but separated in 2008, five months after becoming Speaker.

Jennifer neither filed a response to the appeal nor appeared in court to defend the matter hence the latest decision.

In his appeal, Marende stated that: “The trial court arrived at a wrong decision in awarding Sh35,000, which was excessive, and it failed to consider his affidavit of means which were filed and duly served as evidence in the record of the appeal thus reaching the erroneous decision”.

Marende further stated that the proposal to pay the monthly sum was not reasonable as the needs of the child are shelter, food, healthcare, clothing and education, thus both parties must share the expenses.

But the court noted that Jennifer is a resident parent and will focus on the day-to-day nurturing of the child and providing guidance and support until Marende exercise visitation or alternative access to the child during the agreed intervals.

“Although the appellant shoulders financial obligations to cater for six other children, a wife and aged parents and is not in formal employment, he is (still) legally bound to provide for the child,” the court ruled.


Kenneth Marende [Photo: Courtesy]

In its final determination in judgment delivered on 21st January, the High court upheld some of the orders of the trial court, among them directions that the Marende caters for the child’s school fee, to be agreed upon by the parties in writing.

The court further directed that the applicant (Jennifer) should take responsibility of shelter and is at liberty to move houses in the event the current house is beyond (her) means and that the respondent (Marende) will take out a comprehensive medical cover for the minor, but in the meantime cater for any medical expenses in case the need arises.

 The High Court however varied with earlier ruling by ordering that: “The respondent requirement to provide monthly upkeep of Sh35, 000 per month is hereby vacated as the applicant, being the resident parent, shall provide for shelter, clothing and food for the child.”

The judge further directed that: “The ex-parte orders of 4th April 2013 with regard to payment of the rent arrears as per prayer one is vacated…the appeal is partly upheld and partly dismissed.”

Marende joined active politics in 2002 when he was elected Emuhaya MP through NARC ticket. In 2008, he was elected the Speaker of the 10th Parliament, succeeding Francis ole Kaparo.

Among others, Marende, a recipient of the 2011 Advocate’s Lifetime Roll of Honour from the Law Society of Kenya, initiated live broadcasts of the parliamentary proceedings.