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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Changing the Terms of the Debate: Polygamy and the Rights of Women in Kenya and Uganda
Author:Mayambala, Esther N.
Year:1997
Periodical:East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (ISSN 1021-8858)
Volume:3
Issue:2
Pages:200-239
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Uganda
Kenya
East Africa
Subjects:human rights
polygamy
women
Women's Issues
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Cultural Roles
Status of Women
gender
women's rights
legal status
Islamic law
customary law
Social costs
Abstract:The legal systems of Uganda and Kenya recognize both polygamous and monogamous marriages. Polygamous marriages are contracted under Mohammedan law, or under the various customary laws of the indigenous societies of the two countries. The practice of polygamy adversely affects the rights of women in marriage as well as their right to divorce. Advocates of polygamy have justified its continued practice on the grounds of religious sanction, the preservation of traditional values and cultural identity, consensual choice, and the alleged benefits for women and society at large, thereby obscuring the inequality of the sexes that the practice of polygamy perpetuates, and the real harms caused to women in polygamous marriages. Proposed legal reforms in Kenya and Uganda in the area of marriage and divorce in their present form would leave the wife at the mercy of her husband. Of three possible approaches to the polygamy question - allowing the coexistence of polygamy and monogamy, enhancing the rights of a polygamous wife, or completely outlawing polygamy - the author argues in favour of the last. The abolition of polygamy in Uganda and Kenya, with the exception of clearly deserving cases which should be specifically spelt out in the law, would be a step further in the eventual emancipation of women. Notes, ref.
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