The just passed marriage bill is unambiguously the most offensive idea to come out of the 11th Parliament yet. According to the BBC:
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, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reports.
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,”
This is Grade A horse manure.
President Kenyatta should veto this bill. And the group of Kenyan MPs who think that disempowering women is a smart idea are advised to watch the video below of President Kibaki at a press conference ostensibly to confirm to Kenyans that he has ONLY ONE WIFE, following rumors to the contrary [More here].
Also, Mr. Kenyatta should require that before he assents to the bill it must expressly forbid dabbling in both civil and “customary” marriages because the resultant legal arbitrage only benefits men. SOMEONE TELL ME, WHY DO WE NEED A DUAL SYSTEM ANYWAY??? A woman entering a civil marriage should have the guarantee that it will always remain so, with stiff penalties for men who violate the contract. The provisions for Muslims have always been clear and should remain so.
And just for good measure, they should also hear what Chimanda has to say about gender relations:
More on the unbelievably sophomoric debate on this matter in the National Assembly here.