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We are asking the Government to abolish the culture of paying bride price in Kenya.
In our view, this culture is repugnant to the dignity of many women. It is abhorrent.
This culture portrays women as mere property, despite being packaged as appreciation for the parents of the bride. It is rooted in the history of marriage, at a time when women has little or no say in most African societies.
We are aware, for instance, that some families force their daughters to drop out of school to get married, sometimes to rich old men who are able to pay huge sums in bride price without even testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Some parents consider bride price as their income, therefore charging exorbitant amount of cash or property. It is wrong for a man to offer cash or livestock as bride price.
We are asking the ministry to encourage girls to go to school which would in turn help them to become independent, whether or not the bride price is paid for them. Women should not look at marriage as an achievement. It is sad that many parents in Kenya fail to educate their daughters and this makes them economically weak and causes them to develop an inferiority complex during their adulthood, a factor that makes them servants or slaves of their future spouses.
Many women in Kenya continue to endure abuses due to bride price including insults, sexual abuse, battery, denial of their rights to own property, being overworked and having to bear a large number of children. We also know of the tendency of some men to reclaim the bride price when marriages break up, saying fear of this outcome forced women to cling to their marriages even when abused.
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