Friday, 21 March 2014

Kenya female lawmakers stage walkout as polygamy law is passed

It was a sitting filled with drama today in Kenya's parliament as female members of the assembly staged a walkout during proceedings in the parliament. Their grievance was as a result of a new law their male counterparts all favored which they see as derogatory to the rights of Kenyan women.

Prior to today when the Kenyan Marriage Amended Bill was passed into law, it was customary in Kenya for men to seek the permission of their first wife before bringing in another woman as second wife or even marry as many as they want. The men obviously woke up from their slumber and decided to remove that clause in their constitution and this infuriated the women big time.

Mohammed Junet, an MP representing a constituency from the western Nyanza province,

"When you marry an African woman, she must know the second one is on the way and a third wife… this is Africa," Kenya's Capital News website quotes him as saying.

MPs Aden Duale, Jakoyo Midiwo and Junet Mohammed said it was against tradition to seek consent to marry a second wife and claimed their female colleagues had an ulterior motive in trying to push for the clause.

"I want my Christian brothers to read the Old Testament, King David and King Solomon never consulted anybody to marry a second wife," said Duale.

The women would have none of those talk as they believe it is a sign of respect for a man to discuss with his wife his intention to marry a second wife. MP Soipan Tuya says"It behoves you to be man enough to agree that your wife and family should know".

Despite their walkout, the bill was still passed into law as the men outnumbered the women in the parliament when voting was required.

The law on a brighter side enables Kenyan women to have 30%of any property the couple acquires during marriage and she can go with it even after divorce. The bill amongst other things also bans marriages of anyone below 18, and does not recognize live-in-lovers known as "come-make-we-stay" in Kenya.
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