Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Big Brother Kenya

The Standard reports that new legislation to cover marriages, the Marriage Bill 2007, is on the way. The Bill seeks to "consolidate into one all the nine Kenyan laws regarding marriage".

The Bill seeks to reduce incidences of divorce by introducing reconciliatory measures to solve differences among couples. It now seems that the government is set to turn wedlock into padlock. If the bill makes it into law, married couples will be compelled to refer their dispute to a "conciliatory body" prior to being allowed to divorce.

Just picture a committee of bureaucrats sitting in judgement over your marital woes! What gives the state any authority to determine to whom and for how long we should be married? Seeking to "save" marriages or family through legislation is not only an exercise in futility, but is also an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

Other features of the bill include the recognition of come-we-stay unions as well as a clause "that gives a green light to polygamous marriages, so long as the man makes it clear before undertaking the first marriage that he would be polygamous".

Now, I have nothing against polygamy so long as all involved are OK with it. My only question is whether, in the interests of fairness and gender sensitivity, we should not also register polyandrous unions. Apparently, this issue is not addressed in the Bill. It would be interesting to hear what our sisters have to say about this.


Unknown said...

It's funny, that the mover of these bills - at least, the government's face - is one (Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs) Ms Martha Karua, a devorcee(??) who cares nothing about relationships and societal standings. If any of these were to see the light of day, won't the man occupying the highest office be a bit embarrassed - or would a denial/explanation of the first family on national television precede the assenting of th bill?!!!

Gathara said...

What does Ms Karua's marital status have to do with anything?
However, I do agree with you that the Baks needs to come clean.