It’s a wife sharing deal like no other, similar to one of those popular Indian fables where a wife was shared by four brothers. Now, we are not talking about four brothers here, but two Kenyan youth who decided to share the same wife, all because the woman in question could not choose between them; and the men themselves did not want to lose her! And in a one of a kind contract, the two Kenyan men have reportedly agreed to co-exist under one roof and with one wife, and have signed an agreement of marriage to the same woman.
The issue arose when the woman (who did not want to be named), a widow, could not choose between her two lovers Elijah Kimani and Sylvester Mwendwa, with whom she had been having separate affairs with for the past four years. And when community policing officerAdhalahAbdulrahman noticed the men fighting over the woman in Mombasa county, he persuaded both of them to marry her.
The decision was initially met with shock and public outrage, with many condemning the marriage, stating that it was against their religion, culture and the law (polyandry is not accepted in any Kenyan community).
However, one of the grooms, Mr. Mwendwa claims that given the situation that both of them were not willing to let go of the woman and she was not ready to choose between them, there was only one thing that they could all do, enter into a mutual marriage contract with each other. The grooms have declared that by signing the agreement that going forward, they would not harbor any jealous feelings or hatred towards one another, and would live happily as one family in the same house along with the woman and her children (from the woman’s previous marriage) who are free to call both grooms their fathers.
The agreement has been drafted with clear boundaries in order to maintain the peace in the house. Each of the two grooms would have a day and time set aside for him, and would respect those set aside for the other groom as well.
The woman’s parents have apparently blessed the marriage, and both grooms are ready to pay the customary bride price to them for the woman’s hand in marriage. And as per the rules of the agreement, the woman would act as the central referee even after marriage, and would decide between the two men with respect to other major decisions in the family like bearing more children.
Lawyers in the region have proposed that the unique marriage be recognized only if proof of polyandry is shown in any Kenyan custom. And though no Kenyan law directly forbids the custom of one woman having more than one husband, the only way the marriage can be recognized is if it happens to adhere to the rules of a customary marriage or the statutory law.