When Tanzanian musician Bernard Michael Paul Mnyangánga first met Anerlisa Muigai, the eldest daughter of Keroche Breweries founder and owner Tabitha Muigai Karanja, he was smitten.
Ben Pol, as he im popularly known as, he said he knew he wanted to settle down with the entrepreneur, who founded and owns Nero Water Company.
A friendship began in 2018 before blossoming in April 2019 when the two moved to Mombasa.
On this day, Ben Pol got on one of his knees and asked the question: “Will you marry me?”. He then put a ring on her finger that was rumored to be worth Sh1million. She said “Yes”.
“How much did the ring cost?” I asked Ben Pol when we met in Nairobi recently. “Does that matter now? It was an expensive piece of mine for someone who meant the world to me at that particular time,” he said.
The lovebirds would wed privately a year later – in Dar es Salaam in May 2020. with fewer than 10 guests present, only for the Moyo-Mashine hitmaker to file for divorce after 11 months.
The 32-year-old filed for divorce at a dar in April 2021 Es Salaam Court without giving a reason for the lawsuit.
“To say exactly what caused our marriage to break up would be very difficult. At one point I felt like the universe was telling me something was wrong. There were so many red flags that I initially ignored and the problems kept piling up until I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to file for divorce,” he tells Saturday Nation.
Although Ben Pol Shares the Responsibility He claims he did everything he could to save their marriage.
However, the singer says he’s not sure Anerlisa wanted the marriage to work the way he did and would have maybe put even more pressure on the union.
“I think I did my part, I tried to save the union because I wanted it to work, but the universe had other plans . I gave my all, but I’m not sure if she did the same. ”
However, during a visit to Dar es Salaam in November last year, Anerlisa, who continues to avoid discussing the issue, slammed Ben Pol for disrespecting her marriage.
You know what most people don’t understand is that marriage is not like any other relationship. Marriage should be respected, you can’t talk about your marriage too lightly,” she said.
“The best thing you can do is respect marriage and stop talking about it. We went to Bible study and we were taught not to talk about marriage and even what happens after. If you’ve broken up, let it be, but talking about it was a bit too much,” Anerlisa told journalists at Julius Nyerere International Airport.
But Ben Pol sees nothing wrong with the union to discuss how they are no longer together.
“I’m an artist and I have to do interviews and in all interviews the question of our marriage always comes up. If you check all the interviews, there is not even one where I have ever disclosed what really happened. To this day I never said what she did. I felt like it wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to and walked away.”
The singer-turned-environmental activist feels like they’re both relaxing have after they got married and have become too comfortable forgetting to nurture their love like it did when they started dating which was the prime of their relationship.
“I think , we let go of our vigilance as soon as we get married. We got too comfortable because during the dating phase everyone is trying to secure their position and prove to their partner that he or she is a good match.”
The two started with their secret affair For months, Ben Pol became an interesting social media feed.
A majority of social media followers and bloggers felt that he was in the union because of Anerlisa’s financial muscle.< /p>
Sometimes the couple documented their lavish escapades in exotic locations around the world.
Ben Pol doesn’t deny being funded by Nero’s CEO, but he claims he gets his share too helped when needed.
“I believe that couples in a relationship should support each other. What is yours becomes hers and theirs becomes yours. She is a business woman and travels extensively as part of her schedule. She always asked me to accompany her and she took care of it because she understood that it was not in my budget. Also, I’ve also taken her on trips, but it’s just that because of her background, people will never believe that,” says Ben Pol.
For the singer, his only regret is that he put pictures in the social media.
“I’m human, I’m an artist and like everyone else, when you go to beautiful places, it’s natural to take photos and share them, but you can never control how the masses interpret . It’s such a shame.”
The songwriter also denied reports that Anerlisa’s family didn’t like him and that was one of the reasons they didn’t show up for their wedding.
Ben Pol praises his ex-in-laws, describing them as very loving and supportive parents.
It took Ben Pol months after the breakup to recover from the emotional and mental derailment.
“Those were hard days. I couldn’t sleep, I lost weight, I tried going to the gym but it didn’t work. The only thing that helped was reading a lot of books, going to therapy sessions and meeting people,” he beams.
The soft-spoken creative still has the desire to one day settle down, but not in the near future.
Since parting ways with Anerlisa, Ben Pol has become deeply involved in environmental protection and is currently working with Hollywood actress Lupita Nyongó as a WildAid Ambassador in Tanzania and Kenya respectively.
While most wildlife conservation groups focus on scientific studies and anti-poaching efforts, WildAid works to reduce the global consumption of wildlife.
“I am passionate about environmental protection and started creating environmental content in 2010, but by 2015 international organizations were starting to approach me about partnerships. I started with WildAid, which also includes Lupita, Bruce Melody, Rwanda, Jackie Chan and Davido as ambassadors,” he says.
“In 2017 I was a partner with the Worldwide Fund for Nature, then came the UN onboard and Lead Foundation.”
Ben Pol’s recent trip to Kenya was sponsored by Just Diggit, a global organization with a mission to make Africa greener and cool the planet.
“Just Diggit’s mission is to fight global warming and our current climate action project here in Kenya is a greening exercise we conducted in degraded areas in Amboseli and Chyulu Hills (Makueni County). We have also trained communities there in pasture management and offered women empowerment. Women in these areas are helped to grow grass seed banks that they later sell to Just Diggit, and the organization distributes the seeds to degraded areas for revegetation,” explains Ben Pol.
Ben Pol has an environmental campaign song Kijanisha with Christina Shusho, Joh Makini and Frida Amani, which he hopes will create more awareness.
But even with his hands full, Ben Pol can’t wait for his divorce to Anerlisa to be finalized by the court.
“Divorce is quite a process, the matter is still pending in court and I hope it will be finalized soon,” he says.