Friday, March 21, 2014
Kenyan polygamy law: The law is supposed to bring civil law, where a man is only allowed one wife, into line with customary law, where some cultures allow multiple partners
But male MPs voted to amend the new marriage bill to allow men to take as many wives as they like without consulting existing spouses. Traditionally, first wives are supposed to give prior approval. About 30 of Kenya's 69 female MPs were in the 349-member chamber for the debate but were outnumbered by their male counterparts. The women walked out in disgust over the matter. The marriage bill now passes to the president to sign before it becomes law. MP Samuel Chepkong'a, who proposed the amendment, said that when a woman got married under customary law, she understood that the marriage was open to polygamy, so no consultation was necessary. Mohammed Junet, an MP representing a constituency from the western Nyanza province, agreed. "When you marry an African woman, she must know the second one is on the way and a third wife… this is Africa," he said.