Fairy-tale ending as Kenyan lottery lovers are reunited

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A pair of Kenyan star-crossed lovers have overcome the disapproval of their families and the complications of owning a Mercedes-Benz to be reunited, after a four-month saga that gripped the imagination of the country.

A pair of Kenyan star-crossed lovers have overcome the disapproval of their families and the complications of owning a Mercedes-Benz to be reunited, after a four-month saga that gripped the imagination of the country.

Miriam Wanjiru, 17, was abducted by her family after she won the £44,000 luxury car in a competition organised by a mobile phone company last September, while she was pregnant. The win was seen as a fairy tale for a poor girl from a rural family who dropped out of school and had been given a chance to build a new life for herself, by selling the car and buying land.

But in true Kenyan style, her mother soon entered the picture, demanded that she come home to finish school, and accused her boyfriend of seducing an underage girl. In a very public fight, carried out in the pages of local newspapers, both sides accused the other of wanting Ms Wanjiru's money.

Ms Wanjiru herself demurely insisted she only wanted to be a good "wife" to James Njenga. The two were not legally married but did go through a traditional wedding ceremony.

A few weeks later, Ms Wanjiru vanished, and Mr Njenga could be spotted wandering forlornly around the media, telling journalists about his lost love.

On New Year's Eve, Ms Wanjiru reappeared in Nyahururu, a few hours from Nairobi, carrying her newborn son Fred. She told Mr Njenga she had been abducted by her mother and taken to the remote town of Maralal in northern Kenya.

"They came and forced me to leave my husband and accompany her [my mother] home," she told the local press.

Her uncle, a soldier in the national army, guarded her to make sure she did not escape, but on 31 December Ms Wanjiru went for a walk with her baby, and slipped onto a public bus to Nyahururu, where Mr Njenga was waiting for her.

The two still have not married legally, but have sworn an affidavit stating they were married under traditional law and regard each other as husband and wife. Now, all the couple have to do is find a buyer for the car.

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