Kenyatta signs Kenya polygamy law

NAIROBI - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a controversial marriage bill legalising polygamy.

It brings civil law, where a man was only allowed one wife, into line with customary law, where some cultures allow multiple partners.

Controversy surrounded an amendment to the bill, supported by many male MPs, allowing men to take more wives without consulting existing spouses.

Traditionally, first wives are supposed to give prior approval.

Last month, female MPs walked out of parliament in disgust after their male counterparts voted through the amendment.

They argued that a decision to take on another wife would affect the whole family, including the financial position of other spouses.

The bill was also opposed by Christian leaders who urged the president not to sign it into law, saying it undermined Christian principles of marriage and family.

"The tone of that bill, if it becomes law, would be demeaning to women since it does not respect the principle of equality of spouses in the institution of marriage," Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, from the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), was quoted by Kenya's Standard newspaper as saying.

The marriage legislation has been under discussion for several years and some initial proposals were scrapped at committee stages.

It has abolished the practice of unofficial traditional marriages which were never registered and could be ended without any legal divorce proceedings.

But plans to ban the payment of bride prices were dropped - although a person must be 18 to marry and this now applies to all cultures.

Comments (8)

Marriage is God,s idea. His plan is for one man and one wife for life. Other man made arrangements such as polygamy,homosexuality, lesbianism,bestiality etc are distortion s of God,s truth and sinful.

Tim Tavaziva of Zimbabwe - 30 April 2014

Marriage is God,s idea. His plan is for one man and one wife for life. Other man made arrangements such as polygamy,homosexuality, lesbianism,bestiality etc are distortion s of God,s truth and sinful.

Tim Tavaziva of Zimbabwe - 30 April 2014

The existing spouse has always been consulted even by our founding fathers and that way they ensured that the family did not fall upon entry of new wife. Naturally when first wife was consulted she would actually help hubby to find a family building wife and not destroyer.

Mweni Tafara - 1 May 2014

Not so much of a good Idea for a country like Kenya where the girl child is very much disadvantage, where we hear of young girls being forced out of school and into marriage before the legal age of concent. This only worsens the deteriorating value of the girl child. Mr Kinyata you have just opened the door to immorality and increasing new HIV infections. You have just made us men who are easily setually tempted to be unaccountable for our behavier.

MasterB - 1 May 2014

nyaya yevakadzi vakawanda inyaya yebag rako munhu ,no money no woman plenty money plenty women

Harare - 1 May 2014

Zvekupengawo izvo. Complete madness. Instead of coming up with legislation to see Africa developing, you waste time on useless legislation. Since time immemorial in Africa, this has always been the practise but it has become unfashionable especially with more women becoming educated, self-sustaining and even becoming breadwinners in some households.

Mahwani - 2 May 2014

A young President like Kenyatta endorsing such madness in a country with such high levels of poverty. Cry Africa. Cry.

Hama - 4 May 2014

Many people which advocate monogamy are the filthy prostitutes on mother earth. Polygamy was tolerated by God from Genesis to Revelation by God who are you to judge what God said. "It's OK". Homosexuality and Lesbianism were NEVER tolerated by God and punishable by Hell fire. Whoever does not believe my God's bible stop meddling into my God's affairs without authority. Kenyatta is right. Just watch the blessings and riches and everything that they lacked falling into right lines. The principle, do the right thing that attracts God on the scene and the rest leave it to Almighty Jehovah to take over. You will swim in poverty Zimbabwe by your demonic theology!! nxaaaa

Polygamy Ndizvo - 5 May 2014

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