COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli gestures during a press conference at the umbrella union's headquarters in Nairobi. He alongside other 6 former NBK board members have been sacked.

KTN news anchor Mary Kilobi has found herself in the spotlight with reports of an intimate relationship with COTU chief Francis Atwoli that’s shaping into a love triangle. The 34-year-old Swahili presenter is understood to be married to Nelson Wamboka, a politician and personal assistant to Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

Being a low-profile and reserved TV personality, very little is known about her personal life and family. Wamboka has accused her of having an illicit affair with Atwoli, the long-serving Secretary General of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) and threatened unspecified action against the trade unionist.

Mary Kilobi: Thrown into the spotlight.

There are even reports that the presenter is pregnant and the husband believes he is not responsible. Reports on various digital platforms indicate that the lady has moved out of her matrimonial home and lives in an apartment said to have been bought for her by Atwoli. Wamboka unsuccessfully contested the Bumula parliamentary seat in the 2017 general elections on Ford Kenya ticket. The two are yet the speak out publicly about the reports.

While relationship issues dog a number of female TV presenters, a dalliance with an influential public figure and newsmaker often attracts huge public interest.

Kilobi’s colleague at KTN, Betty Kyalo, had her share of experience of such unwelcome publicity when it emerged that she was dating flamboyant Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. The relationship eventually ruined her marriage to Denis Okari of NTV, which had been solemnized in a high-profile wedding few years back.

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While Atwoli may get away with this unscathed, Kilobi could end up losing her marriage and her erstwhile clean record in media circles. It may also raise ethical issues about her journalism career and adversely affect her reputation as a motivational and inspirational speaker. Somehow, however, media houses have often swept this debate under the carpet.

Mary Kilobi, who hails from Bungoma County in Western Kenya, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Literature and Kiswahili) from Makerere University and works as a news anchor cum Reporter for KTN. She is an author of a Kiswahili teaching book ‘Jifunze Kiswahili’ that is currently sold in major bookshops in Uganda and Congo.

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