The Kenyan Marriage Law and Negative Consequences on Families

Millicent Agutu

Miserable women fighting for a piece of the man. Is this fair?

Miserable Kenyan women fighting for a piece of the Kenyan man. Is this fair?

Marriage is soon going to become quite complex for women in Kenya. Not that it has been any better. Infact Marriage is a delicate, sensitive and complex institution with diverse and very broad issues arising each and every moment. The new Marriage Law has brought about a new dimension of suffering to women through offering men sweeping advantages over women. It allows men to get tired of their wives and to start new relationships. Important marriage partners are going to be denied their rights and will be forever condemned into silent bitteerness.

The government has a role to play a protective role for all its citizens in Kenya. This role entails protecting the rights of all and sundry; individuals, families, communities, tribes. It cannot play this role by favouring one party making it unduly powerful over another. This is even made worse when this impartial treatment is entrenched into a document of law. At the moment the government has condemned women to fight each other to get a piece of the Kenyan man.

Let us imagine a scenario; Ms X has been together with her husband since she was 23 and he 25. At that point they all were very young. They stayed together and today they have three children and Ms X is 50 while her husband is 52. They had bad times and good times in their time together. At times Ms X made mistakes and at times Mr X made mistakes. Infact at times it was really nasty for both of them. However, they survived these bad times because they both valued each other and none thought of abandoning the other. Now, they have built enormous wealth together and especially for Ms X the last thing she would like to hear is that at the age of 50, her husband is planning to bring another intruder in her family. If this so happens, it is a fact that Ms X will be very hurt and the family’s social capital will weaken.

A healthy nation is a result of healthy families. What Kenya as a country needs to do is not to weaken its families. The country needs to ensure that it does not breed dysfunctional families as this will have a toll its future. Both Ms X and Mr X need to feel secure and so do their children. As a result of this feelings of security the country will in turn bloom and become a place where people feel safe to invest in each other. The lawmakers therefore have an important role to create laws that will build Kenya and strengthen families and ultimately trust and social capital.


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