Former National Assembly Speaker Francis Kaparo, 71, and his wife, Mary Mpereina Kaparo, have traded bitter accusations as their union risks discontinuation.
Mpereina filed a divorce suit at the Kiambu Chief Magistrate’s three years ago, Case Number HCCC 36 of 2018.
The mother-of-four cites cruelty, desertion and adultery as grounds for seeking divorce.
The petitioner (Mpereina) and the respondent (Kaparo) have been married for 40 years now, starting 1981.
In the court papers, Mpereina says she married Kaparo under Samburu/Maasai customs before sealing the relationship with a Catholic Church wedding thereafter.
The petitioner says the marriage was blissful until December 2015, when Kaparo moved out of their matrimonial home.
She says their union was blessed with four children namely Bernard Kaparo, 37, Stella Kaparo, 35, Saidima Kaparo, 32, and Susan Kaparo, 30.
Mpereina says efforts to rescue the marriage have been futile as Kaparo seems disinterested in patching things up.
“The union has irretrievably broken down and cannot be salvaged at all,” she says in her divorce suit.
“All efforts to reconcile have flatly failed as the respondent (Kaparo) appears to have moved on from the petitioner,” Mpereina said in her petition.
According to the former Speaker’s wife, she and Kaparo lived happily at their Eden Ville home until December 2015, when the respondent deserted her.
According to Mpereina, Kaparo has found a new partner, whom he wants to marry.
“The respondent says he wants to marry his new partner, whom he has been welcoming in parties in [our] matrimonial homes in Laikipia, Nairobi and Kiambu,” she said.
The petitioner also accuses Kaparo of cheating on her with multiple women.
“On several other occasions, the respondent has admitted to having affairs with other women unknown to the petitioner,” she said in her suit papers.
Besides cruelty and adultery allegations, Mpereina also claims, in the suit, that Kaparo was violent towards her.
“On several occasions, the respondent has beaten the petitioner, occasioning her severe injuries and one time she was treated with a broken leg at Nairobi Hospital,” she said.
On his part, Kaparo accuses his estranged spouse of, among others, infidelity.
“The petitioner has been involved in adulterous relations with men known to herself and the respondent, to an extent of having children out of marriage, a fact that she has variously admitted,” he said in his affidavit sworn before commissioner of oaths Joseph Makumi on April 4, 2019.
In response, Mpereina said she was ready to subject her children to DNA tests so as to prove that Kaparo was their biological father.
Kaparo, however, is against any paternity tests on his children, saying the petitioner wants to turn a divorce matter into a property row.
“The petitioner seems to be more concerned about succession than the children who she wants to drag into the matrimonial dispute,” he said in his replying affidavit, through his lawyer Letangule & Company Advocates.
“I further reiterate that the petitioner has been involved in adulterous relations, the issue of children notwithstanding and any call for DNA test is diversionary,” he insisted.
According to Kaparo, paternity tests on their four children is “unnecessary”.
“They are all grown-ups and responsible to themselves and cannot be forced to undertake a test that does not seek to achieve anything in their best interests,” he said, adding that Mpereina was out to “vex the respondent with unnecessary litigation at the expense of the much needed peace in the family”.
The former speaker wants the court to throw out the paternity tests application, saying it has been “made in bad faith with an intention to create bad blood between myself and the children I have brought up over the years”.
Besides infidelity, Kaparo also accuses Mpereina of cruelty, saying: “the petitioner has constantly caused physical, emotional and psychological torture on the respondent in an unprecedented measure of cruelty on a spouse”.
According to the respondent, Mpereina, whom he accuses of alcohol addiction, has been sending him “cruel phone messages”, and maligning him on social media.
Kaparo also told the court that, in the past, – for a period of five months when he was ailing –, his wife never visited him in hospital.
Kaparo claims out of the 40 years of his marriage to the petitioner, 37 have been marred by cruelty inflicted by the petitioner.
“Since 1984, the petitioner’s and the respondent’s parents have often counselled her in vain to help her stop the said cruelty, but it has been in vain,” he said.
Kaparo says he attempted to salvage the relationship, but his efforts were frustrated by his spouse.
“The petitioner cannot listen to anyone, and never takes any counsel, further frustrating all efforts of reconciliation,” he said.
The case continues on May 17, 2022.
Francis Kaparo served as the National Assembly Speaker between 1993 and 2007, making him the second-longest serving Speaker in Kenya’s history after Fred Mbiti, who served for 18 years between 1970 and 1988.