Drama unfolded at a dowry ceremony in Garsen, Tana River County after the mother of the wife-to-be took off with her daughter’s bride price.
Anne Maweni secretly left the ceremony with the bride price amounting to Sh170,000 over fears that her kinsmen would short-change her.
Efforts to reach her via phone were futile she had switched it 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,” her sister Veronica Meilu said.
Elders and in-laws attending the ceremony realized something was amiss after she used another phone number to send an SMS to her sister asking her to oversee the remainder of the ceremony.
“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.
Maweni later called her sister and instructed her to put the phone on a loudspeaker for her to explain her actions.
“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,” Meilu told Nation.
Maweni explained that she swapped the bag containing the bride price 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,” she told the gathering via phone.
She recalled how her kinsmen abandoned her after the death of her husband, 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.”
The widow promised to send some cash to one of the elders who supported her during her tribulations and for 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.