5 Kenyan Women Married to Prominent Families Abroad

  • Mother-in-Law actress Elizabeth Wanjiru (left), Kristina Pratt greets President Uhuru Kenyatta as Mama Ngina looks over.
    Mother-in-Law actress Elizabeth Wanjiru (left), Kristina Pratt greets President Uhuru Kenyatta as Mama Ngina looks over.
    File
  • It is somewhat an unspoken rule that Kenyans who venture outside the country, whether it is in business, sports, or marriage, often thrive.

    Whether it is individuals who leave to pursue further education or actresses who found their better halves by chance, these five women fell in love and became members of some of the most prominent families around the world - demonstrating that love knows no bounds.

    Here is a list of Kenyan women who married into prominent families abroad

    1. Gichoki Rose Wanjiko

    Kenyan Gichoki Rose Wanjiko who was married to Lawrence Ekpebu
    Kenyan Gichoki Rose Wanjiko who was married to Lawrence Ekpebu.
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    Odhiambo Levin Opiyo

    Gichoki Rose Wanjiko left the country in pursuit of higher education at Clarke College in Iowa, USA. At the time, Wanjiko had won a scholarship programme under Tom Mboya.

    While in the land of milk and honey, she worked hard and became one of pioneer African students at the prestigious Harvard University where she would meet the love of her life, Lawrence Baraebibai Ekpebu. The two later got married.

    Ekpebu, in the course of his life, became a very prominent figure in the world of academia since being the first African to graduate from Harvard. He rose to become a renowned Nigerian scholar, administrator and diplomat.

    He was appointed commissioner under Commander Alfred Diete-Spiff. He was also appointed as the Nigerian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cote d’Ivoire by General Muhammadu Buhari. He passed away in January 2022 aged 86 years.

    2. Prof Wambui Karanja 

    Professor Wambui Karanja is another little-known Kenyan woman who is married to a foreigner, Prof Vremudia Diejomaoh, one of the most respected economists in Nigeria. 

    Wambui met her Nigerian lover in the same circumstances as Wanjiko - while studying in the US and became close since Ekpebu and Diejomaoh had gone to school together. 

    It was Ekpebu who gave Wambui away during her wedding in 1966.

    "At a personal level, our family had the privilege of knowing this very kind and generous man for decades. My husband Prof. Diejomaoh first met Prof. Ekpebu at Princeton University in 1961.

    "Five years later, He gave me away during my wedding and subsequently, his beloved wife of blessed memory, was my chief bride's maid. She was more than a brother to me," Karanja wrote in her tribute to Ekpebu.

    3. Rita Sinon

    The late Rita Sinon who was the first Female Minister in Seychelles
    The late Rita Sinon who was the first Female Minister in Seychelles.
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    Peter Sinon

    In the little island country of Seychelles, a Kenyan-born woman Rita Sinon, in 1986, made history when she was appointed as the country's first female cabinet minister. 

    In the 1960s, she met Guy Sinon, her future husband and a Seychellois who had come to Kenya to study the trade union movement. She followed her husband back to the island nation and joined politics in 1970, where she led the Women’s League at its inception.

    Rita's husband served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs between 1977 and 1979. Their son, Peter Sinon, who was born in 1966, also served as a Minister of Investment, Natural Resources, and Industry from 2010 to 2015.

    4. Elizabeth Wanjiru

    Citizen TV actress Elizabeth Wanjiru at Radio Jambo studios on Monday, February 17, 2020
    Citizen TV actress Elizabeth Wanjiru at Radio Jambo studios on Monday, February 17, 2020
    YouTube

    Every Sunday, Citizen TV's Mother-in-Law star Elizabeth Wanjiru graced the screens but succeeded in keeping her private life private.

    Away from the entertainment industry, Elizabeth is the spouse to one of the most influential Ugandan politicians - Shem Bagaine. 

    The two met while studying at Makerere University where they were both members of the Drama Club. 

    "We later got transferred to the University of Nairobi and he followed me here. We started the Drama Club at UoN before we got married and started a family here in Nairobi," she recalled in a past interview. 

    The two had been married for 13 years before they became estranged in 1981. 

    "It was a bad time due to what was going on in his home country where Idi Amin was wreaking havoc. He was very ambitious and political and I did not want that life so he left never to come back. We never divorced, however, but remained estranged."

    In Uganda, Bagaine from becoming a member of Parliament to an assistant Minister before rising to becoming the Minister of State for East African Affairs.

    5. Kristina Pratt 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta's sister Kristina Pratt.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta's sister Kristina Pratt.
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    President Uhuru Kenyatta's elder sister Kristina Pratt, previously known as Christine Wambui Kenyatta, is also married to a very prominent family in Liberia. 

    Her husband, Victor Pratt, is the nephew of William Tubman - Liberia's longest-serving president who served from 1944 until his death in 1971. Tubman Road in Nairobi's CBD is named in his honour. 

    Victor's cousin, Winston Tubman, is a prominent Liberian politician who served as a Cabinet Minister and unsuccessfully sought the presidency in 2011. 

    Uhuru's brother-in-law is based in Kenya and is currently Chairman of the Retirement Benefits Authority. 

    He was first appointed to the position in May 2016 and was re-appointed, by the then Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, in May 2019.

    Before RBA, Pratt worked in the transport, telecommunications, and energy sectors where he was involved in small business development.

    The two are blessed with four children and Kristina works as a special education teacher.

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