Matrimonial Property Bill Kenya

Yesterday on Citizen TV there was a conversation on the Matrimonial Property Bill, 2012. Two men and two women were on the panel. Presumably, the men were against the bill and the women. It was hilarious to say the least, especially so because Abduba Dida was on the panel. There was also this Kalenjin lawmaker there who kept saying things that made me squirm. I tweeted:

My friend Mutisya tweeted:

As in really? Then there was this two characters who tweeted me:

Makes you wonder, what era do they live in? Really? I’d like to know.

BUT, think about this: most of us watching the TV and contributing are people who can afford TVs and contribute to the conversation. A lot of us are educated and as such, know that women are not property to be owned. Sadly, there are a few people who can contribute, are educated, but still believe that women are property and get bought through the price known as dowry.

Personally I am vehemently against bride price/dowry. Mainly because 1) I don’t see why my future husband should pay a price for marrying me and 2) I think it is unfair 3) We both left our families to form a new family so in essence, we both should pay dowry (bride and groom prices) to each others’ families. That’s me. Fairness. Equality. Equity. Whichever works for you.

I was saddened by some of the comments made on Twitter on the #MondaySpecialKE hashtag and the #MatrimonialPropertyBill one. So sad. Granted there were some positive comments made, but still seeing that some people felt that women are property and thus “you cannot share property with property” made me real sad. There is still a lot of work to be done towards dismantling partiarchy and misogyny in our young and fragile society. Many of these so called cultures still need destroying and new ones created. It is a great thing we’ve made such progress on ending female genital cutting, so we need to do more to end other cultural vices such as wife battery, treating women as second class citizens, and not as equals and so forth.

Yet, once a while you see tweets like these and just SMH

With all this said, think about it: is marriage really all about love? Isn’t it just a legal agreement between two parties who come together with an aim of forming a family and as such there needs to be some legal parameters governing this agreement? Why do we always make it look like it is more than that? Doesn’t it mention protections for both parties, for children, what would happen if a divorce is sought and so forth? See? Legal document. Nothing more.

So if you don’t like the Matrimonial Property Bill, don’t get married.

Men, women are not property. They’re not there to sire children for you, cook for you etc etc and that’s all there is to them. They’re more than that. You’re in a partnership with them. You can’t have those children without her and she can’t have children without you. Both of you contribute equally. Fine, she carries the kid yes, but you too were given certain capabilities through nature that make her carrying the baby a better process. There is positivity in nature. We shouldn’t determine hireachies through nature. If we base  such on nature, then who is better? The man who provides the sperm or the woman who carries the baby and can determine the future of the kid?

Women, you are not property. You’re not to be treated as second class citizens in your homesteads. You’re contributing just as much as the man is, if not more. Fine, most cultures dictate that the man goes out and ‘brings the bacon home’ while you stay home and tend to the homestead and take care of children, but that doesn’t mean that your work isn’t as hard, or as valuable as the man’s work. It may not be equal in effort, but it is equal in contribution. Both your contributions matter. You can’t have one without the other.

Finally, no one said that families are static. The female lawyer said that culture is dynamic. It is ever changing. Nowadays there are all manner of family types out there. We can’t say that one size fits all. We therefore can’t force the one size on everyone. A middle ground has to be sought. I believe the bill found a middle ground. That’s all from me. I welcome constructive criticism. I’m no expert.



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