Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru now says she was married traditionally to a polygamous partner, and, therefore, she is not in a position to provide a formal marriage document as proof of her marital status.
This comes after the legislator and her husband were allegedly denied admission at Sunshine Hotel in Kericho for failing to produce their marriage certificate.
Speaking at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi on Monday, July 16, Ms Waruguru said: “I was married according to the traditional Kalenjin culture. Did they expect me to produce the grass that we tied during our wedding?”
“I am in a polygamous marriage, and I am not ashamed of it,” she added.
Ms Waruguru, in a past interview, revealed she is her husband’s second wife.
According to the MP, “there is no law that requires one to prove his or her marital status before being allowed to access accommodation or recreational facilities”.
The Woman Representative, who was with two other women MPs – Gathoni Wamuchomba (Kiambu Woman Rep) and Alice Wahome (Kandara) – during her address, says she is contemplating legal redress against Sunshine Hotel.
Ms Wamuchomba said, just like Ms Waruguru, she also underwent a similar experience at the same hotel in the past.
“On that day I was with my husband. Cate [Waruguru] also had her husband. Imagine if we were not with our husbands, what would have followed. It is not the business of an hotelier to know what one is going to do at a hotel room,” said Ms Wamuchomba.
According to Ms Wahome, “receptionists are not qualified to determine whether a marriage certificate is genuine”.
“We are going to demand that the license of this hotelier [Sunshine Hotel] be withdrawn,” said Ms Wahome.
Ms Waruguru and her husband were on Saturday night (July 14) denied accommodation at Sunshine Hotel in Kericho Town.
The couple was turned away by the hotel’s management “for reportedly failing to produce a marriage certificate”.
Speaking to Citizen TV, Ms Waruguru claimed the incident came only hours after they had booked a room at the hotel.
“This is my registration card which is clearly filled… it has mzee’s name and has my name and I was given room 402,” said the legislator.
“After dinner, we came back to the hotel at around 9 – 10pm only to be rudely shown the door to be told we did not produce a marriage certificate.”
According to Ms Waruguru, she had visited her in-laws in Kericho County together with her husband and had planned to spend the night in the county.
She further stated that the management refused to listen to her pleas despite interventions by area leaders.
“I have watched like 10 couples walk into this hotel and I didn’t see any one of them producing marriage certificates,” she added.
“I may wish to know how many more women and men will suffer in the hands of hospitality industries and before people who feel that it is not about your money that you’re able to afford a room but about a marriage certificate.”
Sunshine Hotel management is yet to respond to Ms Waruguru’s allegations.
The hotel, however, has a notice at the entrance indicating that it is against their rules for a man and woman outside wedlock to sleep in the same room.