For the first time, love is in the air in Kenya’s Parliament, where two elected MPs are spouses. Mathira MP Eric wa Mumbi is set to tie the knot with Murang’a Woman Representative Betty Maina.
The two are currently living together informally, but Cupid’s arrow struck some time back.
They will formalise their relationship in an event that will see Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua leading a bride price negotiation entourage from Mathira as Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro plays host on behalf of Ms Maina’s delegation in Murang’a.
This was confirmed by Mr Wa Mumbi on Inooro TV on Monday. “We have now decided to live together as husband and wife and Mr Gachagua will be my chief negotiator when Mathira meets Murang’a for the takeover of her daughter.”
The first-time MP says he met Ms Maina in 2021 and “I discovered that she had everything I wanted in a wife”.
He says they started dating, and during the gruelling campaigns in the run-up to the August 9 General Election, they decided they were meant for each other.
Mr Nyoro describes Ms Maina as “our clean, beautiful and smart girl, who Mr Wa Mumbi will not take for free and, who must be willing to spend time with me as caretaker, our clergy, elders and Murang’a in general”.
The lovebirds have each been dealt blows in their past relationships, Mr Wa Mumbi’s case being the most serious.
He married Catherine Nyambura in 2015 and was blessed with two sons. Then tragedy struck, and her body was recovered from Hohwe Dam on May 25, 2020.
It was a mysterious death, described even by pathologists as complex, and Mr Wa Mumbi was questioned during investigations, which eventually fizzled out.
At the time, Mr Wa Mumbi was the Konyu ward representative in Nyeri County.
“My wife was the best thing that ever happened to me. She valued family more than anything else in the world. Her death has left a huge void in my life and that of our two sons,” he posted on Facebook at the time.
Ms Maina revealed that she came out of an incompatible marriage. She also has two children.
In a recent interview with Jeff Kuria TV, she said the marriage failed because she got into it when she was young and naive.
She said: “We were both young, and I am sure if it was today, there are things we would have done better. It could be that we were both impatient for things to work out … Even though we have parted ways, he remains my friend, I would be there to defend and support him if bad news came his way.”
Both Mr Wa Mumbi and Ms Maina have one thing in common, says former Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, “raw courage as they pursue their goals with ruthless tenacity”.
Mr Ngugi told the Nation: “I have known the two leaders for some time and what drives them is so consistent that I am not surprised that they have slipped into each other’s lives so effortlessly.”
He said: “I sincerely wish them every success as they are a classic case of focus and inspiration.”
The fact that two people who have suffered relationship setbacks could come together in their loneliness and form a long-term bond for the benefit of their children was something worthy of celebration, he said.
Ms Maina was a director at the Athi Water Development Agency, and after a moment of indecision, during which she first courted the Jubilee Party, she quickly read the mood on the ground and joined the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
For Mr Wa Mumbi, he was ready to fight for a second term as Konyu MCA when then-UDA presidential candidate William Ruto chose then-Mathira MP Gachagua as his running mate.
Mr Wa Mumbi had sided so strongly with Mr Gachagua and Dr Ruto that when the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill came up for debate at the Nyeri County Assembly on February 23, 2021, he was the only one who voted against it.
His loyalty to Mr Gachagua and Dr Ruto paid off when on May 21, 2021, during a UDA rally in Mathira constituency, the two announced him as their preferred flagbearer for the MP seat.
When the results were announced in Mathira, Mr Wa Mumbi had won with 49,377 votes, while Ms Maina triumphed in Murang’a with 278,443 votes, more than double her closest rival.
It was after the two were elected that Ms Maina first announced their blossoming love on Facebook. On December 21, 2022, when Mr Wa Mumbi celebrated his 35th birthday, she posted: “35 years is a great achievement. Live long my love.”
Mr Wa Mumbi immediately posted: “I never imagined I would be where I am today, an MP, it is all God’s miracle. And then God gave me Betty, this girl is fine, she has everything I want in a woman, at home she is a wife, my best friend, my prayer partner, mother of our children, my happiness, my best cook and the one I have chosen to grow old with”.
On Monday, he heaped praise on Ms Maina, describing her as “sweet, lovely and kind”.
He said: “This week I will be in Murang’a for preliminary planning before the big day when I will descend on this land of my love in a manner that will make all envious.”
He said the bride price ceremony would be a blend of his faith where “I am a Christian, a council elder and as much urban, as I am traditional”.
“A good purchase has no hurry and is priceless … we are together with your daughter and I am coming this week. The waiting has been good but I will come eventually,” he said.
Mr Wa Mumbi praised the Mathira elders as wealthy, classy and fearless, saying “we raise goats and of course not the Northlands Farm ones … and our generosity is unparalleled”.
He said: “It is no longer a secret that I am the one who lives with your daughter and we retire in the evening to a house that we call our own.
“In the morning we go our separate ways. She goes to serve Murang’a and I do the same for Mathira and we meet again in our house.
Using Ms Maina’s political slogan ‘Betty e sawa’ (Betty is okay), he promised to “raise our children together in love”.