By Stevens Muendo and Esther Muchene
They met in Mombasa in 2010 and became an item in 2012; Pulse unearths a relationship born at Bishop Wilfred Lai’s Mombasa mega church. And even as they tied the knot during a glitz wedding held in Nairobi last Saturday, questions seemed to linger in the minds of many as to whether the affair had been rushed.
As the two exchanged their wedding vows before the open skies that chilly Saturday afternoon, the bride’s mother… Emmy Kosgei’s mother, shed a tear.
She sat next to her husband, pastor Jackson Kosgei, who too, remained emotional on his wheelchair watching his celebrity daughter take her vows before the officiating Bishop Arthur Kitonga, a close friend of the family.
In the crowd of the few chosen, a number of who had flown in from Nigeria to witness the ceremony, was Esther Wahome, Kenya’s foremost female gospel ace and Emmy’s spiritual and singing mentor. She had not made it to the bridal procession and as Pulse later found out, her expected role, that of the maid of honour had been bestowed to Vicky Kitonga — bishop Kitonga’s daughter, that after she failed to take it under untold circumstances.
But that not withstanding, this was going down as one of the memorable days, and a glorious one for that matter, as flamboyance came to show. This was the marriage of Kenya’s top gospel singer whose tantalising melody has had both heads of states dancing and street paupers praising. It was dignity defined.
It was business unusual. Here stood the bridegroom Apostle Madubuko, a renowned Nigerian apostle behind the Lagos based Revival Assembly Church waiting to receive his queen.
His grown daughters, Velma and Sandra, sat metres away as yet another family member, Chris Madubuko, his best man sat by him, occasionally checking if his outfit; ties, shoes and the works, stood right. They shared jokes and laughter, until the chartered chopper carrying the bride landed at the Windsor Golf Club grounds shortly after 4pm. Here was the moment!
Elegant and looking every bit the part, Emmy strutted a white strapless Cinderella gown adorned with diamante and rhinestones, stealing the show amidst ululations and clapping as the guests gasped at the breath-taking spectacular long veil with bright peals encrusted on it — stealing everyone’s attention. Keeping her jewellery minimal, her signature look; a headdress was attached to the veil complete with matching earrings, neckpiece and a cute bracelet.
Her parents escorted her down the aisle graced by white petals on the walkway that gave it that nostalgic feel of a fairy-tale wedding with white rose arrangements standing on pillars halfway through the front.
“The gown is from London. She went for the fitting then it arrived a week to the wedding,” a close family member confirmed — but refrained from divulging the exact cost. And well, for a wedding whose budget has been rumoured to cost Sh10 million, it was no doubt the gown was expensive.
Emotions ran high when Emmy’s fellow gospel singers Eunice Njeri and Kambua Mathu took to the stage and graced the occasion. As they confessed their love for Emmy wishing her a prosperous marriage and future with moving songs, twice, she broke into tears, taking her mothers arm for a shoulder as her man watched from afar. Gracefully, she would whisper to her mum and dad — both edging her on each side .
As the clock ticked 4.13pm, in what could pass as the celebrity wedding of the year, the Kenyan gospel icon celebrated across Africa for her hit singles such as Taunet Nelel, officially tied the knot. Adorably, they kissed as they said the vows. Twice so — inside and outside the brides veil — the guests, comprising the crème de la crème of Kenya’s religious, political and corporate domains cheering on.
With pinnacle leaders among them political leaders from Rift Valley, top notch church leaders bishops Wilfred Lai, Arthur Kitonga, David Muriithi and Margaret Wanjiru as well as celebrated gospel stars Kambua Mathu and Eunice Njeri taking prominent roles in the opulent garden pond wedding, the 45-minute ceremony was characterised by pageantry and colour complete with chopper droppings and pickings, and top of the range rides beaming all over the grounds.
Later in the evening, a 500-people banquet was held at Safari Park Hotel where invited guests were treated to a lavish merry ceremony with Terry Mungai, the Miss World Kenyan franchise officiating the cake cutting moment.
Also notable in the ceremony was Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni, reigning Miss World Kenya Wangui Gitonga, gospel singers Victor Mbuvi and Alliwa and celebrated emcee Chris Kirwa among others.
But beyond the banquet and the merry of the hour, as the news of the newly weds became a reality through instant Internet postings, a fresh debate raged with critics across Africa casting aspersions as to whether the wedding would last the test of time. “But why not?” others opposed.
“There is a way you know God is in something. God is in this,” the words of Bishop Wilfred Lai during the delivery of the wedding sermon played back in our minds.
It was in church where this two met, back then. Madubuko was then married to his late wife Connie who passed on last year. Emmy too, was dating a top media personality. The two broke up bitterly last year after which the media hunk got married shortly before the news of the Emmy-Madubuko relationship got unearthed. The two events looked fictionally orchestrated — probably so in God’s choreograph might. Here was love, love found after a demise and a separation, and so worlds apart.
After our snitches in Mombasa gave us the lead, Emmy denied the story saying she wasn’t dating any Nigerian man. She would be forgiven. It had hardly bloomed.
But as fate would have it, the developing circumstances between them seemed to confirm everything towards their union. After his visit here early this year, Madubuko organised a surprise banquet for Emmy back in Lagos where he broke the ice before an entire congregation. In fact, on her arrival in his personal office, the walls were decorated with her pictures and her songs were playing at the background to her astonishing awe. When we reported it, only few believed us.
“The truth is that God brought her to me and it was just glare in my spirit. When my wife passed on, I was completely clueless and I began to pray. God showed her to me. She refused my advances initially but after some time through prophecies and so on, she said yes,” Madubuko confessed the other day, saying Emmy was a truly graceful lady.
Since then, Emmy has wished away critics claiming that she hitched the old man for his rumoured wealth, saying she has seen money before.
Many young and potential contenders did not seem to take it lightly when she said she did not need a young man alluding that she wanted a man who has settled down.
But it is not just that. Emmy leaves a big void in an industry where she was the captain of the game and moving into new grounds where only faith can lead her through.
She becomes the First Lady in the husband’s church, one of the biggest churches in Lagos and with that, taking enormous responsibilities as a mother of many — a duty she says she is ready to take.
“It is a total culture change for her and being the icon she was in the Kenyan entertainment industry, many people are already feeling the void hence, the murmurs. I can tell you the truth, most of the people in her traditional home are shocked that she has gone to Nigeria,” a close family friend who begged for anonymity told Pulse.
And yes, Lagos here we come, to the next big banquet where Emmy will be hosted to a grand homecoming party. There at Sheraton Hotel in Lagos next weekend; that is where the Kenyan star will take her glow.