Residents of Maseno turned up in large numbers Saturday to witness a groom-less wedding, where a single mother performed a mock ceremony to pave way for her son's marriage.
Irene Alembi, a single mother of five was compelled to undergo the bizarre process to meet the set norms of her church, Pentecostal Assemblies of God-Kenya (PAG), and the Luhya community traditions
According to Mr. Samuel Olukune, an elder and Ms Alembi's neighbour, the bride was compelled by the Luhya traditions and culture to be first married in order to pave way for her son's wedding that is slated for December, 2017.
According to our tradition, a child cannot wed unless the parents undergo the same, so it was necessary for Irene to perform the ceremony before the wedding of her son in December, he explained.
Irene was married traditionally to the late Silas Alembi, 40 years ago and Saturday had to wear a wedding gown before hundreds of Maseno residents, amongst them her grandchildren.
Her husband, Silas Alembi passed on in 2015 and Irene has been solely brought up the family since then. She operates a small hotel at Mabungo market in Maseno and most of her customers describe her as a hardworking and caring mother.
Besides the traditional requirement, Irene, who intends to be a church leader, was also compelled by the norms of PAG to perform a church wedding in order to meet the threshold of being elected a church leader.
In the absence of her late husband, Ms Judith Ocholla, who also underwent a similar process in 2016 stepped in and played the role of a bride groom in the wedding ceremony in accordance with the Luhya tradition.
Judith stepped in because she had a similar experience last year. According to our tradition, for one to play the role of a groom in such a special ceremony, she must have had a previous experience, explained Olukune.
Ms Ocholla, accompanied by other church members, picked the bride from her parents' home in Musunguti village in Vihiga County before proceeding for a church service that was held at Alembi's home.
The service was presided over by Reverend C. Nganyi who witnessed cutting of the cake, wearing of the ring and exchanging of vows. However, the 'couple' (Judith and Irene) are not meant to live, husband and wife, like in a normal wedding.
Source: Kenya News Agency