Why would a law that allows a man to take more than one wife be passed in a hugely Christian nation? Then an answer came to me loud and clear; the reason is the majority of the members are middle aged men with a serious case of the mid life crisis. Less than ten percent of the Kenyan parliament consists of women so they have little or no say on issues that matter to women. The law should be a reflection of the culture of the nation and according to Kenyan politicians, having more than one wife is not only acceptable but normal.
The people supporting the law state that this law protects women, prevents them from being used and discarded. It gives all women an opportunity to become a legal wife, instead of being a scandalous mistress. It also helps restore marriage because the woman does not have the pressure to do all the work in the household. She has a companion to help her meet her husbands needs, hence has more time to devout to her own interests.
This law is also supposed to protect the children because they are now can live without being the shameful evidence of some man’s indiscretions. A lot of Kenyan men have had affairs and have children from this affairs this children are often kept secret and don’t get the same quality of life as the children from the legal wife. These causes deep seated issues that manifest in low self esteem, drug problems and more than anything a confused sense of self and their role in society,
On the other hand, why is it that only the men can have more than one wife? What happened to, what is good for the gander is good for the goose also called gender equality? If men want more than wife, why not pursue the women all at once? Why do they get to lure the women in one by one like sheep to the slaughter? I propose that if a man wants four wives, he should marry all four at once. He should not be allowed to suck the life out of one and get a new one after each decade.
What about wealth protection? Don’t women have a choice to protect themselves financially from scheming people who slime their way into their husband’s beds? If a husband chooses to marry another woman, does the woman also have to split her pay check with the new woman? What about the wealth that was accumulated, does the new woman just walk into wealth that easily like manna that has been dropped from heaven.
The Western world is not providing a good example with half the marriages ending up in divorce more so with the working structures changing from fulltime to fly in and fly out, part time and flexible work programs making marriages harder to resolve. Clearly the one man one wife is not working for the Western world too. But is polygamy the answer? What happened to fidelity and faithfulness till death? Should we all compromise on our values and create laws based on our weakness. Men decide that they cannot control themselves hence they write laws religious and otherwise to make it more acceptable. Are we also going to make the laws based on this premise, let’s legalise junk food, subsidise it and market it to children. We all succumb to it, junk food makes us sick, but we all enjoy it so let’s ignore the facts and just give in!
If we are legalising things that make life easier, lets make a law that forces afternoon naps on week days, we all would be so much more productive after a after lunch siesta. The issue of one wife one man marriage is complex and needs to be discussed and all the facts be put on the table. Laws should not only be a reflection of the culture they should also be an aspiration a model. If the law does not lay high standards for its citizen, the people have no choice but to falter and bow to their own weaknesses.
Photo credit: ahylton
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Waruguru is an MBA graduate from E.C.U Western Australia . She loves fresh food, books, movies, travel, street cafes, and walks on the beach.