Bukusu Council of Elders establishing the tribunal court photo
Bukusu Council of Elders

Married Bukusu men now have local courts to pursue dowry and other domestic conflicts. The elders in the local courts have challenged men to do so as a sign of respect and thankfulness to the families of their wives.

According to Trans Nzoia County Commissioner, Sam Ojwang’, declining to pay dowry may be contemplated as theft and lack of traditional respect.

Talking in Kitale National Museum in a consultative meeting with Bukusu Council of Elders establishing the tribunal court, Ojwang’ said it is surprising that some married men have sired children with their wives and have not paid even a penny for dowry.

“Some men have become like thieves. They marry but don’t pay dowry. Such behaviour is not good in African culture,” Ojwang’ said.

Ojwang’ continued that dowry pay is the only way of honouring and respecting wives’ parents for their parenting role.

“The Bible says he who gets a wife finds a good thing and gains favour from God, however some men fail to recognize the good things in their wives,” he added.

Bukusu Council of Elders Chairperson Peter Masinde also added that there is a worrying trend where young men marry their daughters and fail to pay what is required of them by their culture.

“Family is a very important institution that should be accorded utmost respect. We are here to remind young men that marrying our daughters comes with a price. Please pay the price” Masinde said.

Dowry is an old tradition found across cultures and religions.  The dowry can be in the form of cash, jewellery, furniture, property, vehicle, or livestock.

In the Bukusu society, the man has to pay 13 cows, a goat for the bride’s aunt, some negotiable amount of money for the brides’ father and mother, a pair of coats, gumboots, a hat and a club for the bride’s father.

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