If a adult male and a adult female lived together and behaved as if they were married, in Kenyan law, they are married. The rule of the given of matrimony is established in law by a 1976 Court of Entreaty judgment.
In a society that claims that the household is its foundation, then the confusing state of the establishment of marriage, its regulations and the laid back nature of the contract establishing it, is hard to understand.
If one were to ask: What, to a Kenyan, is marriage, you would be constrained to answer, it depends. There are nine separate laws governing matrimony and matrimony intends different things in the many legal traditions - African customary traditions, Hindoo culture, English Language law and Islamic law.
Of course of study the junction of all these feeders is the matrimony certification which is easily obtained after either a spiritual or simple civil ceremony. But a batch of struggle within (and after) matrimony could be avoided if the regulations - such as as those concerning property, detention of children and polygyny - were clearly defined and uniformly put out in one piece of legislation.
Many attempts to make this since independency have got failed because of jingoism in Parliament. The Marriage Bill was condemned as "un-African" and shot down by mononuclear phagocyte system in July 1981. Its major failing was that it empowered wives by requiring that their hubbies seek their consent before marrying another wife. It also wanted fathers to supply for children born out of wedlock.
Another law, the Marriage Bill 2007, is now in the plant and it is likely to go as controversial as all other attempts before it. The projected law looks like it suspiciously pimps to male jingoism and efforts to win credence by being very relaxed about its provisions, some of which are summarized below.
First, it seeks to do that widespread pattern called come-we-stay respectable. Come-we-stay marriages, under the proposals, will go registrable. And the couple demand not travel to the Attorney-General's chambers; there will be registrars of matrimonies all the place.
Secondly, it will be possible for the mediocre (and the mean) to acquire married on loan. Marriage will be a complete contract irrespective of the position of dowry. That is to state that you make not necessitate to pay dowery for your matrimony to be complete.
Third, unless otherwise specified, the come-we-stay matrimony (like the ex-divided share) will be ex-community property. That is to state that what belongs to the married woman is the wife's unless it is specified that the place will be group place and therefore in the event of a divorce, everything is shared 50-50.
Fourth, polygyny is okay. It will be legitimate and legal provided that the adult male states his first married woman that he means to travel multiple at some stage.
There are utile proposals in the Bill but it is also quite clear that its writers are too willing to allow work force rights that are denied women. It is the sort of angle that would see a male-dominated, hypocritical Parliament base on balls it in record time.