Men will continue maintaining their working ex-wives after the Supreme Court declined to hear a suit on the matter.
In a decision that seals the fate of marriage alimony after divorce, the Supreme Court declared Friday that it had no power to hear a suit filed by a British national complaining that he could not maintain his former wife since she was a woman of means.
The court ruled the matter before it had emanated from family differences, hence there was no constitutional question to interpret.
In a decision read by Justice Jackton Ojwang, the court opened the doors for Pamela Ann Walker Munro to demand from her former husband Charles Michael Angus Walker Munro 72,000 pounds (Sh9.8 million) as he had not paid anything from 2012.
The court also condemned him to pay her the costs incurred in defending the case.
“Not all cases from the Court of Appeal must come to this court. This appeal has nothing or little to do with constitutional interpretation. This is a family issue which revolves around alimony,” Justice Ojwang ruled.
Munro was not in court; neither was his lawyer.
The man had asked the court to interpret whether it is discriminatory for men to pay for maintenance when there is no child in the scene.
Also at the centre of the dispute between the British former couple residing in Kenya was whether women should enjoy men’s upkeep after divorce while their own monies are saved or invested.
According to Munro, it is not equitable and fair for Walker to get his money as she has means of earning a living – a house in England worth 25,000 pounds (Sh34 million) that fetches Sh149,000 in rent monthly, and pension worth 320 pounds (Sh43,000).
A five-judge bench of Chief Justice David Maraga and Justices Ojwang, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Nd’ung’u and Isaac Lenaola was told that Walker also owns luxury cars and boats.
Munro claimed that his ex-wife can find a job as she is still energetic and has been living in their matrimonial home in Kilifi, Kenya hence she does not pay rent.
“At no time, did the respondent (Walker) state what she does with her income. Her intention is to save 100 per cent of her income and be fully supported by the appellant,” Munro argued.
Munro had been ordered by the High Court to pay Walker 600 pounds (Sh81,000) monthly for 18 months but the Court of Appeal enhanced the amount 1,000 pounds (Sh136,139) after finding that he had hidden his earnings.
He however maintains that his monthly income is 3,000 pounds out of which he spends 2,350 pounds on his upkeep.
But Walker wanted Sh250,000, claiming that it would not exceed 20 per cent of what Munro earns every month.
Munro claims that his former wife leads an expensive life and has even hired servants, while he is forced to cook and wash because of his “modest” income.