Naomi Jeptoo, who was divorced by veteran farmer and politician Jackson Kibor on Tuesday, now says she still loves him.
A day after an Eldoret court dissolved her marriage to Kibor, his third wife of 43 years and mother of six spoke about her profound love for the octogenarian.
Kibor had filed for divorce last March, accusing his third wife of subjecting him to mental anguish.
On Tuesday, the magistrate’s court granted Kibor divorce, terming his marriage to Naomi ‘irretrievably broken down’ and noting that the two were unwilling to resolve their differences.
Later, in a candid interview with The Standard at her expansive Kabenes farm in Soy constituency, Jeptoo said she did not expect the court to rule in her husband’s favour.
She also ruled out appealing the ruling.
“I was at the court when the ruling was being read and I was optimistic that it would be in my favour, but was shocked to hear that our marriage has been dissolved even when the allegations made against me had not been proven,” she said.
Two weeks before the court’s verdict, Jeptoo had a lengthy talk with Kibor, seeking to find out why he wanted to end their marriage after 43 years. She also wanted to know how the two could resolve their differences amicably.
“I asked him why he had left me and gone to court to seek a divorce yet what was said about me in court were pure lies. I challenged him to tell me what wrong I had done, but he kept quiet,” said a teary Jeptoo.
The octogenarian did not say a word, and the two only met on Tuesday at the Eldoret court where the magistrate dropped the bombshell.
Now Jeptoo only hopes that Kibor will make peace with his children.
Inside her house, portraits of the once happy family was hanging neatly on the wall, a clear indication of the blissful moments the couple cherished during their happy union before it turned sour.
“I am praying for my husband that he will one day reconcile with his children. They are his people who will take up his legacy when we are no longer in this world. To me, there is a problem with our family and I am hoping that one day it shall be resolved,” said the wife.
Jeptoo reminisced the great times she had with Kibor after getting married to him at the age of 19 through customary law.
She said Kibor tagged along elders to her parents’ home in Tarakwa, Kesses Constituency to seek her hand in marriage in 1975, which she delightfully gave.
Her love for Kibor, she says, has been profound.
“This is the same house I was married in and I have never left my matrimonial home even after he went away in 2004. We have been a happy family and we hoped that one day in our sunset years we would relax and enjoy the fruits of our hard work,” she said.
She denied that she had incited her children against their father and that the family was plotting to harm him.
“How can I plot against the father of my children? What benefit would it have brought to our family?” she said.
She hopes that the courts will grant her upkeep and let her keep her home that sits on an expansive farm near her husband’s.
“If they ask me in court what I want, I will ask for my upkeep and the house that I was married in. I am getting old, and there is nowhere I can go,” she said.
She said with the divorce granted, she feels like she has lost her entire life.
“I have devoted my entire life to safeguarding my husband’s wealth, assisting him in the farm. There are times I would drive a combine harvester to the wheat farm alone. It is sad that all the work I contributed is in vain,” she added.
Jeptoo is quick to point out that the divorce has nothing to do with her relationship with her co-wives.
“I have never had any differences with all my co-wives, we have always loved Kibor,” she said.
On her feelings towards her ex-husband after the divorce, Jeptoo says only time will tell.
“He is still my husband, I will have to try and adjust to the new development. I have never been divorced before,” she said.
Celebrating the divorce, Kibor said he was at peace and looking forward to adding some weight. He is currently living with his fourth wife, Yunita, at their Chepkoilel home in Eldoret.
The divorce came a year after Kibor divorced his second wife, Josephine.