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Kenya legalizes polygamy

By Staff Reporter

Bill that permits men to marry more than one person without wife‘s consent prompts furious backlashPolygamy
Polygamy is common among traditional communities in Kenya, as well as among the country’s Muslim community. Photograph: Hermin Utomo/Alamy

Kenya‘s parliament has passed a bill allowing men to marry as many women as they want, prompting furious female MPs to storm out, reports say.

The bill, which amended existing marriage legislation, was passed late on Thursday to formalise customary law about marrying more than one person.

The proposed bill had initially given a wife the right to veto the husband’s choice, but male members of parliament overcame party divisions to push through a text that dropped this clause.

Polygamy World Map

Kenya is not the only nation to legalise Polygamy in the world as shown on the Polygamy World Map

“When you marry an African woman, she must know the second one is on the way, and a third wife … this is Africa,” MP Junet Mohammed told the house, according to Nairobi‘s Capital FM.

As in many parts of Africa, polygamy is common among traditional communities in Kenya, as well as among the country’s Muslim community, which accounts for up to a fifth of the population.


“Any time a man comes home with a woman, that would be assumed to be a second or third wife,” said Samuel Chepkong’a, chairman of the justice and legal affairs committee, the Daily Nation newspaper reported.

The states where polygamy is legal in Nigeria.

Northern  Nigeria which happens to be Islamic legalises polygamy.

He said: “Under customary law, women or wives you have married do not need to be told when you’re coming home with a second or third wife. Any lady you bring home is your wife.”

Female MPs stormed out of the late-night session in fury after a heated debate. “We know that men are afraid of women’s tongues more than anything else,” female legislator Soipan Tuya told fellow MPs, according to Capital FM.

“But at the end of the day, if you are the man of the house, and you choose to bring on another party – and they may be two or three – I think it behoves you to be man enough to agree that your wife and family should know,.”

The bill must now pass before the president to be signed before becoming law.

The Guardian

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