TOP
Monday,August 03,2020 14:42 PM

Polygamy is stressfull. Period

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th May 2005 03:00 AM

THE debate on the Domestic Relations Bill, which was supposed to be a grand law regulating the family as an institution, has been reduced to the pros and cons of polygamy.

THE debate on the Domestic Relations Bill, which was supposed to be a grand law regulating the family as an institution, has been reduced to the pros and cons of polygamy.

Asuman Bisika

THE debate on the Domestic Relations Bill, which was supposed to be a grand law regulating the family as an institution, has been reduced to the pros and cons of polygamy.

My estimation of the spirit behind the bill is it is meant to harmonise the various marriage laws with respect to the realities on the ground. Uganda has five types of legally recognised marriages— customary, Hindu, church, civil and Islamic. All these derive their authority from the backgrounds of the traditions without addressing the dynamics the Ugandan society has undergone in the last 43 years. That is why an attempt to address the new phenomenon of co-habiting has been made.

I come from a polygamous family and can make an informed assessment. There is no polygamous family where the partners enjoy the harmony of the family institution. Whereas disagreements in a monogamous family can be settled by dialogue, in polygamy, they turn into rivalry between the co-wives, with negative results on the fabric of the family.

The man is reduced to the status of an onlooker as wives fight. Remember the two wives of an ex-Bank of Uganda Governor who almost exchanged blows in public for the attention of the husband? The man’s response was a muted: “You people are beshaming me.”
In such cases, the family is divided according the co-wives and children of different mothers do not see eye-to-eye.

I know of a government minister who, instead of helping his stepsiblings, decided to help his cousins and nephews to revenge the favouritism he was denied, which was showered on his stepmother. There is also a senior journalist so obsessed with her mother because he feels his father betrayed her.

I used to live with an uncle who had three wives; one in the village and two in town. He went to the village to sort out some family land issues and stayed longer than was expected thus encroaching on one wife’s kisanja(the nights he was suppossed to be spend with one particular wife).

When he returned, the woman was excited and slaughtered a cock. But the man did not come home that night. When he finally came, the woman was so furious a fist fight ensued.

The biggest victim in a polygamous family is the man. He lives like a slave out to please the wives. In most cases, the man will retire with the new wife abandoning the other ones and their families. The children hate their father, stepmother and the stepsiblings. That’s how bad polygamy can be. Forget about the Islam teaching which Muslims use to justify polygamy. The particular verse is not a compulsion but similar to the Bible’s St Paul advising about marrying and staying celibate.

I do not advocate the banning of polygamy through legislation. I still believe polygamy is a social phenomenon that cannot be eradicated by concerted education efforts like the campaign on family planning.

abisiika@newvision.co.ug

Polygamy is stressfull. Period

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author