Police in western Kenya arrested a 41-year-old mother of six Monday for leaving her husband to “wed” the Holy Spirit, Kenya’s Tuko news site reported Wednesday.
Police from Kenya’s western town of Kapenguria stopped Elizabeth Nalem as she traveled along a nearby border with Uganda and detained her before she could cross into Uganda as per her stated desire, according to Tuko. The police officers then arrested Nalem (pictured) and transported her back to her hometown of Kapenguria, where they held her for six hours before releasing her without charge later Monday, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported.
Kapenguria police officers arrested Nalem after her husband, Joshua Nalem, reported her to local authorities for allegedly neglecting to care for their six children after “wedding” the Holy Spirit in recent days.
“He (Nalem’s husband) said that the woman left her matrimonial home one week ago and has since absconded all duties as a mother and wife,” Kapenguria police officer Jackson Tumwet told the Tuko news site on June 2.
“The husband said he heard that his wife was heading to [neighboring] Uganda but [he] saw her loitering in Makutano town [located about 3 miles outside of Kapenguria, Kenya]. She has a young child she must take care of,” Tumwet told the Daily Nation on June 1.
“Elizabeth Nalem stunned residents of Makutano Town last week when she dressed up in a white gown and called her friends and family to witness what she said was her marriage to the Holy Spirit,” the Daily Nation reported, citing accounts by Nalem’s neighbors and fellow Christian church members.
“Following her wedding, Ms Nalem said she was directed by God to go to Uganda, and thereafter the United States of America, to spread the gospel [sic],” according to the newspaper.
Joshua Nalem told the Daily Nation on Tuesday he paid “22 cows and 15 goats as dowry” to marry Elizabeth and that they were still “duly married.” Mr. Nalem alleged that Elizabeth had failed to live up to her household commitments since her “wedding” to the Holy Spirit, leaving “all the work at home” for her husband to complete.
“She didn’t inform me about the wedding. We are still duly married, and this is a lot of work,” he said.
“I will not go with this man. I am married to the Holy Spirit. I don’t want him. I was told to come back home. I was about to be killed by people but I ran away. I don’t want any hindrance on my way. I want my rights as I continue with my new job,” Elizabeth Nalem told the Daily Nation on June 1.
Elizabeth said the Holy Spirit had “instructed her to go back home because some people were blocking her path to Uganda, her next destination,” according to the newspaper.
“I had reached the Amudat area but I am back home. People wanted to kill me, but I will move on. No one will stop my new move,” she said.
The Amudat area of Uganda is located about 65 miles northwest of Kapenguria, which is located near the Kenya-Uganda border.
Kapenguria police officer Jackson Tumwet told the Daily Nation on Tuesday the leaders of a local Christian church “intervened” on Elizabeth’s behalf to arrange for her discharge without charges from the local police station on Monday.
“They prefer to visit a psychologist and hold her because she may have a mental problem. She needs to be in hospital,” Tumwet said.