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Kenya to Sign Polygamy into Law! “This is Africa” say Males, Female Kenyan Legislators are “Disgusted”

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Polygamy - Marh 2014 - BellaNaija

Parliament of Kenya recently amended its marriage bill.

The new bill yet to be signed into law, bans marriage for those under 18, bans bride price payments and states women are entitled to 30% of matrimonial property.

Polygamy is to be legalized. This allows men to marry more wives without consulting other spouses. According to BBC, the law is meant to bring civil law, where some cultures allow multiple partners.

Male legislators of the parliamentary voted to amend the bill to allow men take as many wives as they like without consulting their existing spouses. First wives are supposed to be notified traditionally.

Outnumbered by their male counterparts, a good number of females walked out in disgust over the matter.

The bill has been passed on to President Uhuru Kenyatta to be signed.

Samuel Chepkong’a, who proposed the amendment was quoted saying by Kenya’s Capital Website that “When you marry an African woman, she must know the second one is on the way and a third wife… this is Africa.”

BellaNaijarians, what’s your take?

50 Comments

  1. Miss_Flygerian

    March 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Damn!!!!!! Where does one even start to address this manner of bullshit?

  2. slice

    March 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Gotta say the 30% part is a step forward. If she doesn’t want to stay with the second, i’ guessing this new law means she can take her 30% and waka. If that’s the cse, I guess we’ll soon know whether kenyan women are actually ok with poly or if they just stay cause they have no options financially.

  3. no heart to hate

    March 21, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Na Wa oh

  4. some hater

    March 21, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Stone age thinking. I thought we africans have moved way beyond this stage. even Muslims these days rather not marry more wives and at least they have to seek consent from the current wife or wives. So i can be loving up with a man and not know for sure if he’s married or not???
    All the work we African women have been doing especially Chimamanda in portraying a new image for african women and at the same time trying to enlighten on most of the silent oppression women face in the hands of african men such as domestic violence, rape, emotional, physical abuse, mental subjugation to men etc. is just being torn to shreds. if the president signs this, then i have lost total respect for kenyan men for this archaic thinking.
    This is another desperate act for big for nothing, less of a man, archaic thinking men to oppress women and bring feminism ten steps back.
    I mean if two women decide to marry one man and they do it out of free will and common understanding without the ‘i must be married before i am validated in the society’ frame of mind, then FINE! but how many cases are there of those in reality.
    Actually this must be a joke!

  5. Ibinabo

    March 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    This is barbaric!

  6. mj

    March 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Why are African legislators so concerned with matters of the bedroom and allowing men to marry more than one wife or sleeping with under age children. Is this more important than education, health, infrastructure, the economy?

    • eh

      March 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      EXACTLY!!!!

  7. Zini

    March 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Very good. We claim to be traditional people and dont want the white man’s laws so lets go back to colonial days

    • Shannon Fortune

      March 25, 2014 at 11:48 am

      excuse me women did not have a damn choice back in the day, women weren’t educated and were undermind, we were like trophy’s and not like equal parts of one union. Its is not the white man way, it is a mindset of independent educated women, who need men not barbaric egotistical boys who think of quantity and not quality… Why don’t we as a nation focus on getting our continent right by focusing education, poverty and our economic situations more than how much women BOYS want… women know their worth now and if men don’t like it, powerful strong women will make their presence known… “hell has no fury like a woman scorned”.

  8. me

    March 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    The provisions of this law had better read thus, “it shall be lawful for a man and a ‘woman’ to be married to more than one partner”

    • slice

      March 21, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      There’s no law stopping women sha. It’s just that we ve not gone that route…at least not publicly. We do take lovers in addition to husbands sha

    • Jay

      June 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Kinda like in the United States where you can commit adultery as much as you want because that destroys marriages and families…ie.(the goal of the New World Order). But if you try to make any kind of lasting or permanent family relationship with masculine leadership… ie. (polygyny with children) you go to prison for that. You can commit all the fornication and homosexual crimes you want in the U.S. with no legal consequences, but to have traditional marriage, the way it was done in the Bible was outlawed many decades ago in most of the world with the most severe social opposition coming from the U.S. The goal of outlawing polygyny is to hold one man hostage to the whims of one woman who can use sex as a weapon to keep the man from being the head of the household and thus making the family effectively leaderless and adrift so that international organizations and government can control offspring instead of families. So far this ploy to end marriages in divorce and internal conflict has been fabulously effective in destroying the family and replacing God with big government. On the other hand, if women are allowed to have multiple husbands then we end up with nothing more than a cluster of men and women committing adultery with no headship or leadership of the family, negating the operation of marriage altogether. This fulfills the agenda of destroying the family once and for all as the devils servants have always sought to do.

  9. Troll

    March 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I’m tired

  10. Frank

    March 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Yes…this is Africa.

  11. Myne Whitman

    March 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    LMAO, this is so funny. Maybe the president won’t sign it.

    But seriously why do so many African women get all up in arms about polygamy? Most of our cultures accept it, and it makes sense to harmonize the civil and traditional laws. And then from anecdotes, it can be inferred that up to half of adult African men have more than one woman – whether traditionally married, baby mama married, concubined, mistressed, sugar daddied, what have you.

    Fighting polygamy is equivalent to fighting fellow women, especially in our patriarchal culture that means that resources are mostly, and sometimes only, accessed through male consorts and male children. So what we need are structures and laws that will open up assets to women.

    And these are the good things about this law that are now being overshadowed by the polygamy issue is this part – “bans marriage for those under 18, bans bride price payments and states women are entitled to 30% of matrimonial property”. It’s good to have these things spelt out to start protecting the interests of vulnerable women.

    Maybe what the women should be going for is a law that forbids adultery. If you have one wife 0, or five wives 0, you must be faithful to them. Fines and penalties should be suitably drastic, like 50 years in jail. Just joking, lol…maybe divorce by all the wives who split all property between them and nothing for the man 🙂

    For those that want it too, that laws should be made gender neutral, so that women can marry more than one man too, and will be bound by the adultery law too.

    • aminawon

      March 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      Are you currently in a polygamous relationship?

    • Changing Faces

      March 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      And in your head you made sense…

    • Tiki

      March 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Myne, I never thought I’d say this… but here goes – “utter bollocks”.

      Are we to harmonise tradition with law on everything else then? In that case, why are girls under 18 not allowed to marry? It’s tradition! How about slavery? It’s tradition too! And female circumcision? And killing of albinos? and marrying one’s brothers and sisters? All of these are traditions in our various African communities.

      There is a difference between upholding tradition, and propagating laws that permit a community to move forward. Polygamy is NOT the way to development and empowerment of women in particular and a community as a whole.

    • Myne Whitman

      March 22, 2014 at 12:21 am

      Tiki, you know nobody forces a man to marry more more than one wife, however, many women and girls get into polygamy not of their own free will but because of condition. Let’s work on those conditions and not make polygamy the boogieman. And I do not see how polygamy is an issue of development. You may enlighten me.

      As for the west that we all adore for not having polygamy, have you noticed how many serially divorced and remarried men and women there are, as well as one man with many baby mamas he’s catering to, or one woman with many baby dadas paying her bills?

      This is what we can do rather than fighting or railing against polygamy. We can work – in the private, charity or government sector- to make education compulsory, affordable and accesible for girls up to a certain age (and boys of course), to ban forced and/or underage marriage, to provide access to contraceptives for women, to capital, jobs and equal income, to provide legal protections for women and their personal and/or marital property, to make and enforce laws against rape or domestic violence, to ban the bride price that make some ignorant men think women are chattel, etc. These are the things that matter , not whether you marry one person or three people, all at the same time, or serially over the course of your life.

      Again I say, relationships between adults rarely have much to do with development if well regulated. That is why I chose to see the good in the Kenyan law. Now if you tell me your religion is against polygamy and divorce. Then I totally understand.

    • SpeakNoEvil

      March 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

      Women are “up in arms about it” because we do NOT accept it. Thank you for mentioning the weight of patriarchy that is crushing women’s voice because this culture that “accepts” it can be translated as some men accepting and encouraging it because it serves their selfish interests. Yes, it makes sense to harmonize civil and traditional laws, but we can only achieve that by explicitly banning traditional laws that oppress any group in society: women, underage girls, widows, and some men. Fighting polygamy is not equivalent to fighting other women because women should know that it is okay to challenge a system that seeks to keep them as perpetually inferior. The “good things” about this law are not nearly enough. 30% of matrimonial property? What happens to the other 70%? It goes to the man of course. This is surely a step in the right direction in protecting women, but it is nothing to be ecstatic about. If it is matrimonial property, I am assuming that the man and woman contributed to it, so why should the woman get only 30%? We should be aiming for 50%. Women should not aim for laws that forbid adultery because it is not feasible. Women commit adultery too. Also, nobody can be compelled to be faithful to his/her partner. This law, along with others like it, should be challenged because it violates the “personhood” of women. It reduces women to inferior partners in their marriages. No woman should have to worry about her husband marrying two or three wives because the law allows it. That is insane. At the very least, an amendment should be added to this law to state that women can marry second and third husbands without consulting husband number one. Wait…… What is that noise? Is that the sound of pigs flying and snakes walking on two legs. If this scenario will be frowned upon by men, and might I add some women too, the scenario that silences women in their marriages should not even be whispered about in private let alone being put to a vote.

    • david

      December 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

      yes gender must be the same a women should have 2 or more husbands if she wishes

  12. Dlapikin

    March 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Polygamy is in the law of Cameroon and nobody complains. The way it works is that on the registry of the marriage certificate, the officer asks both parties in front of all witnesses if they would like to be married under polygamy or monogamy. A man that intends to add on more spouses must convince his first bride to agree before entering the union; Once you are married under monogamy you cannot legally add another wife unless you go back to the town-hall and sign a new marriage contract with your first spouse allowing polygamy going forward. A lot of engagements fall apart over that process of persuasion because most women say NO and a lot of guys are pressured by their families to just request polygamy even when they don’t think about it as a precautionary measure for the future… Another very common scenario is a girl desperate for marriage who agrees unbeknownst to her family and when the officer asks the question at the registry all hell breaks loose because to the exception of Muslims, very few families would let their daughter sign anything that opens the door to polygamy….

    • Laide

      March 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Wow..thanks for the enlightenment , learnt something new

    • Dr. N

      March 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Interesting

    • Tiki

      March 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      lol thank you. It is the law, and we of course are well-placed to know that it is a silly law which has caused a lot of strife and should be repealed!

  13. naa

    March 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I pray for long life for the menooo. Very soon the death rate among men in Kenya is going to increase

  14. Truth Teller

    March 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    My God! In this day and age with the underdevelopment of Africa and Africans, this is what the Kenyan male legislators are concerned about? I think we ought to be ashamed at ourselves as Africans that while people are thinking of inventions that will make life easier and better, what we focus on is how to marry more wives and oppress women. We need to change our thoughts and direct them to more meaningful things. I don’t even blame the men but the women that will allow themselves share the men. Women need to be more educated honestly. The more educated women are, the more empowered they are and less ignorant they are. Also, we need to start training our male children early not to objectify women or consider them to be second class citizens. My God!

  15. Laide

    March 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I honestly don’t understand how we Africans come about these laws, one would think the easy access to information, would mean we can copy positive things from other continents.
    What really is happening..are we in the season of foolishness?

  16. albii

    March 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    yes, tis africa. If u cn aford polygamy, y not? Afta all y should a woman b a whore?

  17. hayley

    March 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    since this is Africa sir,can you please pass another one that also “legalizes” development,quality education,good infrastructure,security ,sound economic growth e.t.c,with as much zeal and zest….??As you know ,these things are illegal in this part of the world.

    • Que

      March 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      O dear….ain’t ya heard??…those things ain’t African boo, they unAfrican!!…. *inbrownsugar’svoice*

  18. YoungWiseGuy

    March 21, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    @ truth teller: Pls, take it easy. The fact is that polygyny ( a man with more than 1 wife)
    is an innate thing. The choice is for the man to remain with 1 wife, or more. Or even to remain celibate for his entire life. Of course he should apply sensitivity to his wife, women in his life. God will help us all. Unfortunately most of the world has been deceived by the prince of this world aka satan. #FACTS — The Almighty God is awakening and calling out to those who truly His. For those who have ears t hear will hear and are aware of what’s going on in the world.

  19. hayley

    March 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Anyway for those of you talking about women empowerment ,majority of today´s members of the second wives,misstreses ,concubines and galfriend`s club are highly learned,highearning movers and shakers who want a man in their lives on their own terms,time and conditions.They see” “cooking”, “washing” and “living with a man” on a day today basis as being too traditional for them.

  20. nene

    March 21, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    africa….backward ever, forward never!

  21. iyke

    March 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Given what I know from what I see around me, polygamy would not contribute to a good order in today’s world. I am against polygamy, however, I always like to have a deeper understanding and cultural assumptions about marriage.
    First, lets put on our thinking caps here folks: Polygamy refers to both polygyny and polyandry – marriage of one woman to more than one man. Polygyny is common because humans are naturally polygynous. Scientists agree that humans have been mildly polygynous throughout evolutionary history, even in the bible.
    Once we begin to look at this through this lens, you will begin to understand why something we previously thought was quite bizarre and morally wrong nowadays, like polygyny, begins to look quite natural and common.
    Before you shout me down, take a deep breath and think deeply and objectively over my point of view: Back in the days of our forefathers , polygynous society allows some women to share a resourceful man of high status. The maternal instinct even till today, leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first rate man to the exclusive possession of a third rate one…We see it even in today’s world …. Tall, dark, handsome and rich guy (so called more desirable man)….. It’s the maternal instinct at play here. Women do better by sharing a mate who defends a good territory (provides their physiological and security needs) than they would by opting to be the single mate in a bad territory.
    Why can’t the desirable man stick with one desirable woman, you may ask? As has always been the case, much as he would love to, it is in his nature to hunt and there are always available and desirable women out there who relish the power and status that he brings.
    In my opinion, the only reason why we frown at Polygyny today, is because our cities/world today are highly urbanized and it is very difficult to raise large families as was the case in the days of old, and to maintain a decent social order, religion encourages us to stick to monogamy. Technology has taken over agriculture and children have become a huge drain on finances thanks to modern education and the desire to acquire ivy certificates. And this is where my support for Monogamy is based.
    But folks, in truth, are men in monogamous relationship/marriage today, truly monogamous?
    I am open for an honest and objective analysis/arguement
    Thanks.

    • solucha

      March 21, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      @ iyke, what of all the other scientific research that shows that the more advanced along the evolutionary ladder a species is, the more likely they are to tend to monogamy? Google and wikipedia are your friends. Please go further in your reading!!

    • iyke

      March 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

      You aren’t getting the point. Monogamy is good no doubt…it’s a good model,a good check to preserve social order. But does is STOP men from going after multiple mates? What is it in men that drive them to long for other women even when they are in a wonderful monogamous relationship?
      Solucha, THINK!!

    • SpeakNoEvil

      March 22, 2014 at 2:25 am

      Your support for monogamy is based primarily on the fact that our world is a lot more urbanized and creating large families will deplete a man’s limited resources? Wow!!! You leave me almost speechless. Since you are fascinated by understanding cultural assumptions about marriage, let us take a walk down historical lane. When our ancestors moved from hunters and gatherers to settlers, the male’s greater physical power allowed him to take over the dominant role of provider for the family, thus he got the power to make the rules. What does he do with this power? He made laws that benefited him to the detriment of his wife: my wife is my property, my wife’s property is my property, my wife cannot vote, I can marry more than one wives, and I am the last authority in all things. With hundreds and hundreds of years of patriarchy, men learned to excuse their excesses and the women were encouraged to remain passive in the face of these excesses, thus the greatest absolver of responsibility, “men are polygamous by nature,” was born. If we keep repeating this over and over again, then we must be compelled to excuse men wanting second, third, or fourth wives because men are polygamous by nature and cannot be expected to control their urges. The truth is that humans, men and women, are naturally polygamous, but this is excused in men and never accepted in women. Women are as predisposed to cheating as men are, but no one ever tries to justify a woman’s need to “hunt.” Women shared men in bygone years, because they had no other choice as a result of the society they were trapped in, but we live in a different era now, and women have more options now. When you mention the maternal instinct and how women are wired to share successful men, I become baffled. The maternal instinct does not lead a woman “to prefer a tenth of share in a first rate man to the exclusive possession of a third rate one.” This belief is encapsulated in patriarchal arrogance, because the maternal instinct helps women in bonding with their children, not in sharing a first rate man. We have come to believe that humans have evolved past other animals, so we must expect men to control their animal instincts to hunt, so the idea of polygamy should be a relic of bygone eras.
      We do not frown on polygamy because of limited resources, but because laws that propagate this institution were created by men for men. Women are no longer damsels in distress and we do not want men that will “defend our territories and off springs.” We just want respect in our marriages.
      Why are you curious about whether men in monogamous relationships are truly monogamous? Why are you not worried about women in monogamous relationships? We should expect people to keep the vows/promises they make to their spouses. If a man promises to be faithful to his wife, he should not be looking to create laws that will give him an excuse to bring in other women. Likewise, a woman that vows to be faithful to her husband should keep that ow.

    • iyke

      March 22, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Note that some level of polygamy is observed in virtually every society even if covertly and men did not set our laws as you stated, rather many ancestral women perceived that their own interests would be better served as the co-wife of a really impressive man than as the sole wife of a lesser one. The modern human mind today is composed of genetically encoded psychological adaptations for mating behavior that evolved in these ancestral polygynous environments. That’s why there is so much de facto polygyny today, even in monogamous relationships.
      Also, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists believe that pre-industrial foraging societies are actually a time capsule of sorts, providing the best possible clues about how we all likely lived throughout much of our evolutionary prehistory. That means that, when conditions were right, we were polygynous.
      Why am I not worried about women in monogamous relationships having multiple partners??? Well, men with multiple partners are much more common than women with multiple men because evolutionarily, the benefits of polygyny for men are much higher than the benefits of polyandry for women.Women are genetically not wired that way.
      Why do I subscribe to Monogamy or what I call enlightened companionate marriage model : This model is good for the women, it’s good for the economy, promotes peaceful household, and it reduces crime. As culture is dynamic,( lets not forget that this model only started in the early 20th century) and considering the level of technological advancement that we have today, I believe that the focus should shift from the patriarchal goal of dynastic progression to the transitory notions of intimacy, companionship, someone to understand us and treat us with dignity.
      But are men naturally polygynous? YES THEY ARE!
      Will women be embittered over this? Yes they will. Some may not want to deal with it and therefore opt to living their single lives fully, joyfully, and unapologetically. However, I believe that the vast majority of women will continue to want to marry, and some will be disappointed. My take on this however is that when it comes to marriage, embrace a long-term strategy for marriage and family by seeking out good men early and taking themselves off the market once they’ve found one.
      As this is an intellectual discuss, I don’t expect you to agree with me, but will appreciate if you take a deeper look into this.

  22. Okon udo

    March 21, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Is a civil law. It cannot submerged Christian principles, only non Christians will pay for it.

  23. http://www.karosstoryblog.blogspot.com

    March 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    This is a man’s world for you. They will always pass bills that makes them happy. Na wa.

    Chapter one karosstoryblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-choices-we-make-chapter-one.html

  24. genevieve

    March 21, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    @iyke, people make culture, culture does not make people. i was discussing with someone earlier today about culture and i told her i only practice things in my culture that is not against the bible. i’m not trying to be holier than thou or anything but culture is dynamic and it changes from one generation to the other. because our forefathers practiced polygamy in their generation (which was important at the time as they had plenty plantations and needed plenty children to help; it was also a thing of status to have plenty wives/children and cater for all of them ) we cannot apply the same to our generation because the cost of training a child alone would discourage you. we can amend this so called culture to suit our current environment and polygamy is a way backward in my opinion. africa as a continent is more populated than europe and south america for instance, yet people still live below $1 in nigeria. children are sent to hawk foods on the streets because their parents cannot afford to send them to school. i think its time for Nigeria and other African countries to make a law preventing parents from having more kids than they can afford.!!!

    • iyke

      March 22, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Agree, a law to stipulate the number of kids parents could have, would help address a part of the problem.However, are you going to create a law that will tell men not to look and long for other women?Monogamy has not stopped it,because men, especially, the desirable ones with money and power and in monogamous marriages, are still frolicking with other women.
      I don’t subscribe to it,neither do i justify this action but it’s the reality.Has monogamy worked so far, in checking the excesses of men?Let’s ponder over it…

  25. mj

    March 22, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Show me one country that allows polygamy that is prosperous.

  26. Donthavetimeforrubbish.

    March 22, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Polygamy is one of the most vile phenomena on the face of this earth, a shoddy excuse for a man to cheat in the open without feeling guilty.

  27. sara

    March 22, 2014 at 5:43 am

    African legislators only create laws to benefit themselves.

  28. ufuoma akusu

    March 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Seriously???hehehe this ain’t happening!nonsense nd rubbish.dose kenyan legislators must be outa deir mind

  29. Abena

    March 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I don’t understand this double standard. When the issue of homosexuality came up people said it was “unAfrican”. Now polygamy which has been practiced by our ancestors and very African as far as I’m concerned is legalized and people are still crying foul? Hian!

    • bibilicious

      March 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      u r sooo right, reading all the comments and sum ppl against ds polygamy r dsame ppl who said homosexuality is unafrican.

  30. Carolyne

    April 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    And now *drumrolls* the President of Kenya has just signed the bill into law!

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