“Banning Dowry Payment in Kenya” “Dowry payment should not be banned in Kenya”. People opposed to dowry payments strongly believe that it is a way of extorting money from poor men. It also represents a woman to be viewed as property. Though, others for dowry argue that is just a way of paying back a vote of thanks to the woman’s family. Despite what others may believe, dowry is a must in order to embrace our African traditions, each tribe has it way, woman becomes part of the man’s property, it represents accountability in a marriage and it shows seriousness and commitment.
Firstly, dowry payment is an on going African culture. The woman was highly valued when it came to marriage. The family regarded her as part of property; hence, she was highly protected. This tradition has been passed on by the older generation of our grandparents to the present. The traditions are the same of the groom’s family paying some amount of property, objects or money to the family to which he wants to get a wife. A man pays dowry (bride price) to the bridegroom’s family. Secondly, here in Kenya, the Kikuyu culture is one of the 47 tribes.
Each tribe has its way of paying dowry. The Kikuyu culture puts a great worth on dowry payment. The dowry is paid in terms of money (meters). The amount to be paid is determined by the level of education, health, number of children she have and so forth, the woman is. Long ago, dowry was paid in terms of cereals; maize, beans, potatoes, cows and goats. Now, with the advanced technology all the items are liquidated to money and sent via Mpesa. Thirdly, the woman becomes part of the man’s property.
When the dowry is paid to the in-laws, the man takes the woman and adopts her into his family. The woman takes the man’s last name. She becomes part of the man’s life. The woman is not counted again in her maternal home. However, with the new constitution, I realized that a married woman can inherit her father’s property. Dowry also helps increase a woman self esteem by giving her a say in the society as compared to those who were married without the dowry. Fourthly, dowry represents accountability towards the couple.
The couple and their extended families look up to each other. When it comes to family issues, money and children, the couple relies on the guidance of the elders. The association that is brought by the two extended families unites two together. It makes them to be accountable to each other and the society at large. Lastly it shows the seriousness and commitment to the marriage by the couple. The couple is able to live together, have children, and begin a life together. They can accumulate wealth and the society regards them as married.
It is a fact that those marriages entered without paying dowry end up breaking up. There is nothing to loose in either party, and they have no one to answer to. If the woman ends up having children, she will raise them by herself. Personally, I think that banning dowry payment will create a stalemate. The commitment and seriousness that is brought by payment of dowry will die down for lack of accountability. From my perspective, dowry should not be banned in Kenya; it should be encouraged to all who want to enter into marriage.