Maasai Community in Kajiado County have appealed to couples facing conflicts to seek the opinion of elders to keep their culture intact.
According to Chief David Kurma of Kisamis, the elders in Maa community have different ways of solving marriage disputes and they strive to ensure that couples continue to live in peace as a family unit.
Kurma said ‘Enkitoo’ to mean elders in Maasai are still the preferred choice when it comes to resolving marriage conflicts since they are often witnesses when the parties get married.
Enkitoo are always the first people to be consulted when a man wants to marry a certain girl, and for the same reason they are supposed to be consulted when marriage relationship turn sour, Kurma said while addressing the elders in Kisamis yesterday.
Kurma said the conflicts in every marriage cannot be rushed to the police or Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Kenya), since every community have respected elders who should always come to rescue the family unit.
However, he cautioned Maasai men from beating their wives, arguing that the culture does not condone injuring of female gender.
Kurma said where elders have failed to resolve the cases they will not hesitate to seek legal redress on the same for the safety of women in the family.
Similarly, Jeniffer Muyaki championing women empowerment in Kajiado West told the elders to ensure the rights of married women are protected at all times.
Muyaki said several women in Kajiado West were languishing in poverty since they are not empowered to fight for their rights within the family unit.
The empowered woman activist said it was good for the Enkitoo to understand what the constitution says about the rights of every married woman.
Polygamy does not mean the other wives are treated lesser beings but instead the husband must take responsibility and full care for all the number of wives one has chosen to marry, Muyaki told the elders.
She said the law is clear on equal entitlement of property acquired in marriage which many women have not been empowered to understand.
Muyaki said the elders normally favour the man and urged them to be fair in their judgement to protect the interest of the children in marriage.
She said cases of divorce are minimal within Maasai community and she will continue to champion for the women to maintain the family unit.
The elders from two families had been called to hear the case of Parsimei Moripet and Kilonga Parsimei, where Kilonga was beaten by the husband who maimed her hand last month in their home in Iloodariak. Kilonga is the third wife and has been married for fifteen years with eight children.
A research done at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and published in December 2016, revealed that only 15% of unions in Kenya end in divorce as compared to most of its neighbours whose rates exceed 30 %.
According to Kenya’s 2009 population census, a total of 12.6 million Kenyans were married, of these, 1.4 million reported being in polygamous marriages.
Source: Kenya News Agency