I love Atwoli, he is a caring man who is always there for me. Given another chance, I will still fall in love with him
By Undercover Reporter
Television news anchor Mary Kilobi is expecting her first baby with fiery trade unionist Francis Atwoli.
The 35 year old Kiswahili anchor with KTN, officially married the 70 year old guka she calls ‘Mr Amazing’ and let it slip that if he put her in the family way then “pregnancy is God’s gift. If it is there, it will reveal itself in due time.”
The fullness of time has come. Now the baby bump is slowly ballooning. The pregnancy is welcome. Two earlier ones ended in grief, including the one last year at 14 weeks. Kilobi’s baby with be younger than Atwoli’s grandchildren from the brood of his other, two older wives.
On her feelings for the long-serving COTU Secretary General, Kilobi confessed to a local weekly: “I love Atwoli, he is a caring man who is always there for me. Given another chance, I will still fall in love with him,” said Kilobi, recalling how she first thumbed her nose at him when he first proposed.
“He proposed to me but I said no. But he insisted, saying that he was serious and would wait for even 1,000 years for me to say ‘yes’ and marry him,” revealed Kilobi, adding she turned down the proposal owing to their age difference.
She now enjoys the perks of being the wife of a man who spots a Franck Muller wristwatch that dented Sh5 million from his pocket and which he described as “pure gold…I paid the money in installments.”
Besides living in Atwoli’s white mansion in Kajiado County, Kilobi is chauffeured to work in a white Japanese fuel guzzler and sometimes passes by to check the goings on at the high-end restaurant Atwoli opened for her along Mombasa Road.
Atwoli, though, is not the first prominent Kenyan to marry a woman half his age.
Mama Ngina Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta had a 40 year plus age difference
Just recently, former corporate honcho Sam Shollei divorced Gladys Shollei, the Uasin Gishu Woman Rep and his wife of 26 years and three children. He married Faith Rono, his former junior corporate affairs officer at the media house where he was boss. At the neighbourhood of 30 years, Faith Rono is almost half Shollei’s age meaning he, like Atwoli, will start dealing with diapers, endless night screams and clinic appointments, disrupting the bliss that comes with retirement.
Other Kenyan women who married decidedly older geezers include gospel musician Emmy Kosgei who fell head over heels with Nigerian pastor, Apostle Anselm Madubuko seven years ago. He is older than her dad, Pastor Jackson Kosgei.
Emmy told Parents magazine that, Madubuko, the General Overseer of Revival Assembly Church in Nigeria, is a very “mature and clean hearted man” who has showered her with “affection like she has never experienced before”.
They wed in 2013, but have no baby yet and of which she explained “I didn’t get married just because I wanted to have kids. Relationships are about unions and destinies. If you are attached to the wrong person, it can affect your destiny permanently. I’m also very busy. Personally, we are not under any pressure to have children but yes, I hope to have my own child one day.”
Marriages with couples starring huge age differences come with several challenges
Then there is Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris, 55 and billionaire Pius Ngugi, the 75 year old businessman with a penchant for yellow-yellows. They had two daughters before the relationship went down the courts in 2003. Ngugi had a three year age gap with his first wife, Josephine Mwangi.
But the mother of all age differences must be founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta. When they got married in 1950, Jomo was 69 while Ngina Muhoho was 23. They had four children; Kristina, Uhuru, Muhoho and Nyokabi Kenyatta. Their second born is today, Kenya’s fourth President.
There are discernible patterns in women who marry men twice their age: Most are financially way richer, and had other families with children, mostly near grown up.
Marriages with couples starring huge age differences come with several challenges. Besides oscillating drives in bed, an older spouse comes with age-related opportunistic illness, mindsets cast in stone and differing interests divided by generational canyons.
Then there are divergent worldviews, expectations and social challenges with friends and families who can hardly fit into the matrix. On a scale of one to 10, there is likelihood of early widowhood, all factors remaining constant.
Women appreciate the wisdom, maturity and stability that come with men who are more grounded by age, assets and assorted experiences
Psychologically a woman has to upgrade to appear more matronly in deed and dress or the man has to start spotting angled caps and bling with laughable repercussions on both parties. Children born of such unions also feel like they have a grandfather with them at the bouncing castle besides fear of being mocked during the school Parent’s Day.
But women, however, appreciate the wisdom, maturity and stability that come with men who are more grounded by age, assets and assorted experiences.
On being half Atwoli’s age, Kilobi reasoned “I have now realized age should never be a key consideration in a relationship. Atwoli is that guy who is never bothered about mundane issues that sometimes break up marriages,” she offered adding he’s responsible man who retreats home after work most evenings.
When their love affair became public two years ago, a jilted Bungoma politician, Jack Wanami Wamboka, claimed Kilobi was his spouse until Atwoli came to ruin the party.
But the amiable Kilobi dismissed Wanami as a brother killjoy out to ruin her domestic bliss which had been flowering since she moved to Atwoli’s IIbisil home in Kajiado in 2016.
She accused Wanami of lying to her that he was single and begging for her hand in marriage yet “after one year, his wife came out of the woodwork. I felt cheated. I was naive, but I now know the type of men who are committed to marriage.”
Kilobi is Atwoli’s third wife. She has no heartburn being part of a polygamous family
Kilobi first met Atwoli in 2005 when she was at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature and Kiswahili. She was then an intern at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) in Kampala where Atwoli had gone for an interview.
They exchanged pleasantries and contacts and when Kilobi returned to Kenya in 2011, Atwoli rekindled his interest, confessed his undying love.
Recalled Kilobi: “He told me he was lonely and needed a wife to live with in Kajiado. I challenged him to visit my parents and make his intentions known if he was serious. He readily responded by sending a delegation to the village.”
Kilobi is Atwoli’s third wife. She has no heartburn being part of a polygamous family. Kilobi says her previous relationship to Wanami did not work out because he was never serious like Atwoli, who made the marriage proposal eight years ago during an outing date at a restaurant in Karen, Nairobi.
The couple began living as man and wife after Atwoli sent a delegation to Kilobi’s parents in Kavula village, Bumula sub-county, where he was given permission to marry the TV cutie, who was also attracted to him for prayerful nature.
“Katibu (Atwoli) is very Godly. His commitment to God really attracted me to him. I had never come across a man who fears and loves God like him. He prays every morning for all of us,” she explained.
Kilobi is happy that Atwoli is now there for her since “he showers me with love and always shows genuine concern. He calls several times during the day to check on me. I am with him because of love, not money.”
Her father, Samson Weyusia, said Kilobi confessed of her plans to marry Atwoli six months before Atwoli sent a delegation and “I respected her decision since she is mature. There being no objection, I gave my consent and blessed the union.”
Wanami accused Atwoli of using money to wreck people’s homes, but Kilobi’s father said it was a wrap between the two after Atwoli fulfilled Luhya marriage conditions and that he only knew Wanami as a friend to Kilobi, but not husband and that “he never showed serious interest in marrying my daughter, so he should stop crying foul.”
Atwoli’s views on polygamy are a matter of public record and he once advised his sons “to marry more than three wives so that we can reduce the population of unmarried women.”