A brand new legislation that went into impact in Kenya this week makes it authorized for a person to marry as many ladies as he needs. And a number one ladies’s group is applauding it.
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the polygamy measure into legislation Tuesday, formally recognizing what has lengthy been a cultural follow within the nation.
Parliament handed the invoice in March regardless of protests from feminine lawmakers who angrily stormed out of the late-night session on the time.
The invoice initially allowed the primary spouse the proper to veto the husband’s selection of further spouses. Male members of parliament efficiently pushed to get that clause dropped.
“Marriage is the voluntary union of a person and a lady whether or not in a monogamous or polygamous union,” Kenyatta mentioned in a press release. “The Marriage Act 2014 defines varied forms of marriages together with monogamous, polygamous, customary, Christian, Islamic and Hindu marriages.”
No restrict on variety of wives
The legislation legalizes polygamous unions, however doesn’t present an official restrict on the variety of wives a person can have.
The Federation of Girls Attorneys, a robust ladies’s rights group, applauded elements of the invoice and criticized others.
Polygamy already is a standard fixture amongst many cultures in Kenya and in another African nations.
The invoice, the group mentioned, is lengthy overdue as a result of polygamous unions had been beforehand not thought to be equal to common marriages.
“We’re proud of the legislation as a result of lastly all marriages are being handled equally,” mentioned Christine Ochieng, government director of the nation’s Federation of Girls Attorneys.
“All marriages might be issued with marriage certificates, together with customary marriages. Earlier than this, customary marriages had been handled as inferior with no marriage certificates. This opened up struggling for the ladies as a result of they might not legally show they had been married to a selected man. ”
First spouse has no say
Nonetheless, she mentioned, the primary spouse ought to have a say in selecting her husband’s co-wives.
“What we’re not pleased about is that now a person can marry one other spouse or wives with out the consent of the primary spouse,” she mentioned. “That part of the legislation is doubtlessly open to abuse as a result of a person can secretly marry different wives as a result of he doesn’t want his spouse’s consent to marry.”
However Jane Kimani, a Nairobi resident, mentioned the invoice is archaic and has no place in trendy society.
“Polygamous marriages mustn’t even be a difficulty right this moment,” she mentioned. “Kenya is transferring backward as a substitute of fixing with the occasions.”