An introductory rite in the Garsen group recently devolved into chaos after the bride’s mother stole the bride’s price paid by her in-laws.
Anne Maweni, the bride’s mother, allegedly worried that her kinsmen would take advantage of her and left the ceremony with the dowry of Sh170,000 (N650,000).
When family members discovered Maweni, the bride’s mother, was no longer present at the ceremony in Tana River County, Kenya, the ceremony was called off.
“During the ceremony, she is the one who served the guests and elders food but did not join them on the table. Nobody knew what time she left,” said Maweni’s sister Veronica Meilu.
Attempts to contact her by phone were unsuccessful because she had turned it off.
Maweni later contacted her sister with a different phone number, asking her to supervise the rest of the ceremony.
The elders and in-laws who had gathered for the ceremony realized something was wrong at that point.
“I was not aware of my sister’s plans, but here I was being put to task, to explain how we stole the dowry and where my sister was,” said Meilu.
As the leaders were contemplating reporting the “heist” to the police, Maweni called to explain why she took off.
“She asked me to put the phone on loudspeaker before revealing that the dowry ‘theft’ was a plan she had hatched with the son-in-law before the ceremony,” Ms Meilu said.
Maweni said that they switched the bag containing money with one that had wrappers.
“Yes, we counted the money together but we exchanged the bag containing money with that holding wrappers because the elders are not deserving of any gains from my daughter,” Anne Maweni said on phone.
It also emerged that it was the son-in-law who left the ceremony with the bride price.
Maweni defended her actions, recalling how her kinsmen abandoned her when her husband died, leaving her with two children, a five-year-old girl, and a two-year-old boy.
“After the demise of my husband, you sent me away with nothing but my daughter. You took my son away, and he later died in your hands. Then, you said that the community had no use for a girl child,” she told the elders on phone.
“I have left you with female wrappers to wear since you did not stand for a widow, at her time of need,” she said.
Ms. Maweni, however, promised to send part of the dowry money to only one elder for his support during her tribulations and also standing in for her daughter’s marriage ceremony.
“Mzee Bajila, you are like a father to me and witnessed the atrocities against me. You fought for me in vain. So only you, deserve a portion of this money,” she said and hung up.