Shem Bajura Bageine is a Ugandan politician who was married to veteran Mother-In-Law actress Elizabeth Wanjiru popularly known as ‘Charity’.
Bageine is the former Minister of State for East African Affairs in the Ugandan Cabinet, a position he was appointed to in 2015. He is also an ex officio member of parliament.
The prominent Ugandan politician met Wanjiru while both were students at Makerere University. They were both members of the Drama Club.
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“We later got transferred to the University of Nairobi and he followed me here. We started the Drama Club at UoN before we got married and started a family here in Nairobi,” Wanjiru recounted during a past interview.
The two were married for 13 years before they divorced in 1981.
“It was a bad time due to what was going on in his home country where Idi Amin was wreaking havoc. He was very ambitious and political and I did not want that life so he left never to come back. We never divorced, however, but remained estranged.”
Shem Bageine relocated to Uganda after his Kenyan citizenship was revoked by the government in 1987.
In Uganda, he rose from a member of parliament to assistant minister, and then cabinet minister. During his tenure at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Shem Bagaine was credited with various achievements. As Chairperson of the Council of Ministers in Uganda, Bageine is credited with invaluable contribution to the advancement of the integration process. He was recognized for his commitment to enhancing regional integration.
According to Ugandan publication Business Week, Bageine competently steered Council business within the Assembly, answering questions put before Council, introducing Council Bills and debating important Bills and assisting in the passage of Bills before the House.
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Shem Bagaine also played a key role in the EAC Monetary Union negotiations by inspiring Members of the High-Level Task Force to fast-track the negotiations on the Protocol and his personal commitment.
“EALA appreciates his outstanding contribution as the Chairperson of EAC Council of Ministers as the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers on the EAC major projects including the fight against Non-Tariff Barriers and assignment of specific tasks to Ministers,” EALA’s resolution read in part.
Relationship With Elizabeth Wanjiru
During an interview with Radio Jambo in February 2020, Wanjiru revealed that her relationship with Bageine was abusive, and on several instances, she sought help from the police for fear that he would harm her or their children.
“We had different personalities based on religion and ambitions, so we parted ways. When he went back to Uganda, he carried all my children (two girls and one boy) with him.
“I live alone like someone who was never blessed with children, yet he already had another wife and kids. They were taken away from me when the youngest was in Class Six, that’s almost 20 years ago,” Wanjiru recounted.
When the couple separated, Bageine took their children and Wanjiru didn’t fight it, noting that she did not want to interfere with their lives.
“I don’t know how they progress as they are close to their father. They are never bothered about returning to Kenya and I don’t like to interfere with their lives. They usually visit Nairobi for holidays and if they feel like they have missed their mother, they usually reach out via a phone call. Since they went away, all of them have seen me once. I pray for my children and I hope they are happy.
“I welcome them any time they want to come back. I didn’t have any problem with them because I love them. We don’t have a relationship, we only speak on the phone. I think they are afraid and their father still holds a lot of pain in him. But right now, I am aged and I am used to it,” she recalled.
Wanjiru claimed that Bageine was violent, and therefore, she feared what would happen to her if she stood up to him.
“We had issues in our matrimonial home. He wanted to dump me so that I become homeless so I sued him in court, we fought for more than 30 years and I won (in 2015). I don’t know why they delayed it for long. The lawyers charged me outrageously, I spent a lot. After winning the case, I was to be compensated, but they (husband’s lawyers) never replied and no one wants to talk about it.
“My husband had sold the house but the sale was cancelled. I was left alone without being divorced. As per the law, I am still married. I wanted to file for a divorce but I could not due to my love for my children. It was a violent marriage, I used to go to the police every day after being beaten up as talks of murder were rampant, even for those I knew,” Wanjiru recounted.