November 28, 2022

politics of law

Politics and Law

Tied in knots? Polygamy persists in DR Congo despite ban

4 min read

“I can get married again — the dream is to get to 7 wives,” said Congolese church pastor Chirhuza Zagabe, a husband to four spouses and father of 16 kids.

In 2012, the 60-yr-old married a few women at the same time in his church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He repudiated just one for “lousy behaviour”, but now has 4 aged among 26 and 48 by way of other marriages.

Zagabe’s predicament displays that polygamy persists in the vast central African country, wherever advocates strongly back the exercise of getting married to extra than one man or woman regardless of it possessing been formally outlawed for a lot more than 3 decades.

All around two % of the world’s inhabitants live in polygamous homes, in accordance to the American feel tank, Pew Study Centre.

The apply is most popular in sub-Saharan Africa, in which an believed 11 per cent of the population are living in polygamous homes.

The proportion in DR Congo is two %. Illustrations abound of Congolese adult men boasting about possessing a “next office environment” that every person is aware of — even their very first wife or husband.

When a video purporting to show a gentleman marrying three women of all ages at the identical time was posted on YouTube previous month, the movie went viral on social media.

It explained to the story of a youthful Congolese gentleman who supposedly fell in love with a woman who experienced two glimpse-alikes that had been so convincing he finished up marrying all 3.

It was bogus — but viewers seemingly thought the story.

Some reviews pitied the alleged groom. “He is heading to put up with”, wrote a single reviewer. “We will have observed it all,” said one more, although an admirer remarked: “The lad is sturdy.”

A cinema director from the eastern metropolis of Goma disclosed he was powering the movie, which he states was centered on a real tale and used actors to elevate the issue of polygamy.

– Conventional society –

Each and every Sunday, Zagabe describes and praises the deserves of polygamy in the Lord’s Primitive Church, which was proven in 1983 and is a single of DR Congo’s quite a few religious sects.

A number of dozen of his flock eagerly hear to his preaching in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, with females on one aspect of the central aisle and guys on the other.

Zagabe’s sermon statements humanity’s story started with a person male and quite a few girls. “Rather of dwelling in adultery and debauchery, God authorised man to have several wives,” he explained to AFP.

A few of the pastor’s wives live with him in Bukavu and the fourth in Bujumbura in neighbouring Burundi.

But other Christians problem Zagabe’s interpretation of polygamy’s divinely ordained roots.

“Polygamy is a human institution that goes significantly again in our regular African and Congolese lifestyle. It can be not a divine establishment,” reported Raymond Kongolo, a Catholic priest in Bukavu.

DR Congo’s structure and relatives code have clearly said since 1987 that polygamy is an offence, in accordance to Joseph Yav, a lawyer and legislation professor in the southern town of Lubumbashi.

“Marriage in DR Congo is monogamous,” he pressured. But polygamy “is existing and practised in Congolese traditions, notwithstanding the official authorized ban”.

– ‘Blessed by God’ –

Between Zagabe’s congregation was Kalungu Kalebe, who has two wives and 8 little ones. Somewhat than transgressing the legislation, the 40-calendar year-previous thinks he is “blessed by God”.

“I will have to adhere to David, Abraham and Solomon, who married numerous wives,” he stated, referring to Biblical prophets.

Fellow parishioner Nathanaelle, 15, mentioned she was “all set” to wed a gentleman with other wives. “That doesn’t trouble me at all,” she extra.

Rakel, 1 of Zagabe’s wives, sees the children of his other spouses as her own, in addition to the 3 offspring she has borne him.

An additional of Zagabe’s wives, Yaelle, stated she life in harmony with his other spouses. But she discovered that neighbours who employed to take a look at her when she was the only wife in the house have considering the fact that stopped coming. “They fled from us,” Yaelle mentioned.

“This polygamy business is a deviation in our society, it truly is unthinkable!” claimed Nicolas Lubala, a 42-12 months-old Catholic who accuses the Kinshasa-headquartered Primitive Church of “contributing to ethical depravation”.

Mathilde, 23, was apparent that marrying a bigamous gentleman was “extremely hard”. “In polygamy, there are as well several troubles, discord involving the wives, the kids,” she stated.

But “if the gentleman has revenue and other wives, getting hooked up to him is just not troubling”.

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