ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Kenya Marriage Act: Major Gains for Women in the Parliamentary Marriage Bill

Updated on October 11, 2017

Recently, Kenya had a lot of men complain online and offline about a marriage bill which is meant to bring together all marriage related laws,customs and also strengthen women’s rights in marriage.The bill was introduced in parliament on Tuesday(16/07/2013) and it provoked an uproar from men who said it was punitive and should not therefore be passed by parliament.

One Marjoe said that the #marriagebill is encouraging him to totally remain single.

Below are some reasons why men in Kenya panicked over the bill.

You’ll be sued for failing to fulfill marriage promise/pledge

The major clause that has aroused a heated debate and also anger among men is the declaration that when one party refuses to honor a promise to marry,then he/she should pay damages to the party who has suffered loss as a result of the promise being broken.

This means that if a man fails to marry someone's daughter after making a promising to marry her,then he will be charged in court.However, the aggrieved party will have to convince the court that the promise was made.They will also be required to prove that they suffered damages as a result of the promise not being fulfilled.

The Bill provides in Section 74 that partners who feel like they have suffered damage as a result of a broken promise by the other party can seek compensation,even though the promise to marry wasn’t legally binding.

Is there anything wrong with the bill or are Kenyan men just afraid of commitments/Marriage?

See results

Other major gains for women in the marriage bill

Sometimes Kenyan women only find out that their husbands were married to a second wife during a funeral and had children with the second wife thereby leading to inheritance disputes.

Many couples often marry under customary law which involves payment of dowry by the man to the woman's family and performance of a ceremony.The bill provides that a certificate should be issued when such a marriage takes place.It therefore reduces the chances of women being excluded from inheritance or being neglected by their husbands due to lack of proof of marriage.

The marriage bill also proposes that polygamy under Muslim or customary marriages should be recognized legally as long as the the man and his first wife had agreed that their marriage is polygamous.

Polygamy however would not be allowed in Christian or civil marriages and those who entered into a second marriage could be fined 300,000 Kenya Shillings which is approximately $3500 or face a jail term of five years.

A lot of women’s rights groups have supported the bill because it protects a lot of women’s rights such as right to matrimonial property and protection of second or the younger wives.The husband is expected to treat both wives equally.The law protects women who are often abandoned after their partner brings in other women.

The bill also sets the minimum age for marriage at 18 hence protecting young girls from being forcefully married off which is a common practice in some communities.Marrying an underage person could lead to a jail term of five years and/or a fine of 1million Kenya shillings($11,500).

After Tuesday's first formal reading, the bill will be scrutinized by a committee and taken back to parliament for debate after the August recess.

What to Expect From the New Marriage Bill

The Kenya marriage bill has brought many rections from men and women from all over Kenya.The bill which is set as a tool to revolutionalise the marriage institution and to also protect the rights of spouses,seeks to introduce new laws and concepts that did not previously exist.

The bill sets out the individuals who should be involved in a marriage.It emphasizes that marriage,whether monogamous or polygamous should be voluntarily and between a man and woman.

It also provides that during marriage and dissolution of marriage,parties to the marriage have equal rights.Whereas people often think that some marriages eg church marriages are superior to other marriages like customary marriages,the bill provides that all marriages registered under the marriage act will have equal legal status and none is superior.

The bill has also codified customary marriages which were previously in any legislation and yet they were still recognized as valid marriages.The bill has now recognized the existence of customary marriages and has also laid procedures which will be followed in customary marriages.

Unlike in the past where the director of marriages was not involved in the conduct customary marriages,the bill for instance under section 43 provides that parties to a customary marriage need to inform the director about the marriage within three months after the customary ceremonies.

If a man wants to bring in other wives,Sec 44 provides that the other wives have to be consulted and the notification should include whether the current wives have approved or disapproved of the intended marriage.This means that there has to be consent from the other wives before a marriage is conducted.

In the past,there were no marriage certificates for customary marriages but the new marriage bill has introduced the insuance of certificates for customary marriages after the parties have completed the necessary rituals for their union


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)