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‘Poorly cooked’ pilau dish earns woman a divorce

A man in Tana River County has divorced his wife after she bungled his favourite Swahili dish pilau.

The one and a half year marriage came to an abrupt end after the woman served the dish to her husband, who upon taking a spoonful, spit it out as he complained of an attempt to kill him with bad food.

According to the woman Ms Mariam Hiribae, her husband had been pressurising her to cook pilau, despite her numerous confessions that she was not conversant with the recipe.

“I have told him several times that however much I tried to learn how to prepare the dish, the recipe has not been turning out right for me. I needed more time, but this time he would hear none of it,” she told Nairobi News.

She said in the past, she would hire someone to prepare the pilau for her husband and he would enjoy it, but on this day, the husband strictly wanted the wife to prepare the meal by herself.


Ms Hiribae sought help from a neighbour who gave her a recipe for the dish, as the husband stuck around the house to ensure no help came from outside.

After two hours of a busy day in the kitchen and an appetising aroma filling the entire compound that day, Ms Hiribae was convinced that this time she had it right.

“I took my time to prepare that dish. I tasted it before I served. It was okay. That was the best I ever did as a learner, “she said.

However hell broke lose on the table after the husband took his first spoon and immediately ran to the toilet while coughing and spitting out everything.

Shocked, the woman followed her husband to the toilet to find out what the problem could be, only to be met by a slap and accusations of trying to kill him.


“He has never even pointed a finger at me, but when this time he lay hands on me, and accused me of wanting to kill him with a lot of spices in food, I was mad and I took a stool and hit him on the head,” she narrated.

The man, with blood still flowing on his head, headed straight to his in-laws and asked them to go pick their violent daughter as he headed to hospital.

Ms Hiribae in turn rushed to her husband’s parents to explain what had happened. She carried with her the pot of pilau for her mother in-law to examine.

Her mission assumed an unexpected twist as her mother in-law revisited previous complaints raised by the man, including seeing her ex-boyfriend, arrogance, poor dressing, poor sex, among others.

“I was shocked to hear all the accusations my husband has been reporting against me to her mother. All this while we have been smiling and loving one another,” said Ms Hiribae.


It quickly dawned on her that she was no longer wanted. The following day the husband, accompanied by his sister, gave the wife a divorce “talaka” as outlined in Islamic laws.

“I still do not understand why he reacted this way. I loved him, we were happy.  I never thought pilau would get us here, “she said.

When reached for comment Mr Said Kofa said he owed no one an explanation for the decisions he makes in his life.

He also hinted that besides the pilau, childlessness in the year and a half old marriage was another concern.

“I owe no one an explanation for decisions I make in my life. It doesn’t concern you. Are you married? Do you have a child? How long can you live in a marriage without a child and a wife who can’t cook?,” he asked furiously.