Polygamy: A stubbornly persistent practice

PARIS: The observe of polygamy, or staying married to quite a few men and women, is banned around most of the entire world, but however tolerated — and even authorized — in dozens of nations around the world.

The UN’s Human Legal rights Commission and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Towards Girls have demanded that it be banned.

A man’s globe

Polygamy is primarily, but not exclusively, a man’s planet.

As effectively as polygyny, when a man marries various females, there is the rarer polyandry, where by wives have multiple husbands.

There’s even sororal polygyny, where by a person hitches up with many sisters, and fraternal polyandry, exactly where the lady marries a number of brothers, as below an ancestral tradition in Nepal.

Sub-Saharan Africa at the centre

Only two p.c of the world’s population are living in polygamous people, and in most international locations the proportion is under .5 p.c, according to a 2019 research by the Washington-based Pew Investigate Center masking 130 nations and territories.

Polygamy is banned in most of the earth, including in Europe. But it is authorized in sections of the Middle East and Asia, without having staying typical.

It is in sub-Saharan Africa that it is most prevalent, with 11 % of the population living in polygamous households, in accordance to Pew, with countries in West and Central Africa dominating.

Burkina Faso has the highest proportion (36 p.c), in contrast with 34 per cent in Mali, 30 % in Gambia and 29 per cent in Niger.

Nigeria and Guinea have sizeable polygamous minorities (28 percent and 26 p.c respectively), in spite of both international locations acquiring banned the apply.

Other countries where polygamy continues to be prevalent include Guinea-Bissau (23 percent), Senegal (23 p.c) and Togo (17 p.c).

Two wives the norm

More popular among the Africa’s Muslims than Christians, polygamy is also popular amid followers of people religions.

In Nigeria, it is banned at the federal amount but even now practised in 12 northern states that implement sharia, or Islamic law.

Most West African nations around the world make it possible for adult males to marry up to 4 ladies below specific disorders, which include getting the indicates to assistance numerous wives and family members, in accordance to the Paris-dependent Organisation for Economic Co-procedure and Growth.

In practice, however, most of the males in polygamous interactions have two wives.

The president and the king

Former South African president Jacob Zuma, a Zulu traditionalist, has 4 wives and at the very least 20 children.

The king of Eswatini (previously recognized as Swaziland), Mswati III, married 15 women of all ages, just one of whom died. He has more than 25 children.

Inspired for the duration of war

Islam enables men to have up to four wives, on the affliction that they are all dealt with equally.

The grand imam of the Cairo-primarily based Al-Azhar, Egypt’s best Sunni institution, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has nonetheless criticised the follow as “an injustice towards women and children” ensuing from “a misunderstanding of the Koran and of the custom of the Prophet (Mohammed)”.

Polygamy was historically inspired in wartime, as a way of furnishing money help to widows and orphans.

The practice is however constrained in most Muslim international locations, with Tunisia the initial Arab nation to ban polygamy in 1956.

Despite the fact that the Jewish Torah and the Christian Aged Testomony cite many conditions of a number of marriages, polygamy was rejected by the two religions in the Middle Ages.

In the United States, tens of 1000’s of the Christian fundamentalist Mormon religion however practise polygamy.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the formal identify of the Utah-based Mormons, banned polygamy in 1890.

Its founder Joseph Smith himself experienced amongst 30 and 40 wives, of whom a single was just 14 yrs previous, the church discovered in 2014. – AFP