Tied in knots? Polygamy persists in DR Congo

Bukavu, DR Congo, -“I can get married all over again — the dream is to get to seven wives,” stated Congolese church pastor Chirhuza Zagabe, a husband to 4 spouses and father of 16 little ones.

In 2012, the 60-12 months-aged married 3 gals concurrently in his church in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He repudiated one for “undesirable conduct”, but now has four aged involving 26 and 48 by means of other marriages.

Chirhuza Zagabe, 60, pastor of the Primitive Church of the Lord, preaches during the dominical service in Bukavu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on March 20, 2022.

Chirhuza Zagabe, 60, pastor of the Primitive Church of the Lord, preaches for the duration of the dominical assistance in Bukavu, japanese Democratic Republic of Congo, on March 20, 2022.

Zagabe’s condition exhibits that polygamy persists in the large central African place, the place advocates strongly back the exercise of getting married to extra than a single particular person even with it getting been officially outlawed for extra than three decades.

Chirhuza Zagabe (R), 60, pastor of the Primitive Church of the Lord, talks with two of his wives in his living room

Chirhuza Zagabe (R), 60, pastor of the Primitive Church of the Lord, talks with two of his wives in his living home

Chirhuza Zagabe (back), 60, pastor of thePrimitive Church of the Lord, calls his children to eat lunch in Bukavu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Chirhuza Zagabe (again), 60, pastor of thePrimitive Church of the Lord, calls his small children to eat lunch in Bukavu, jap Democratic Republic of Congo

About two p.c of the world’s inhabitants dwell in polygamous households, in accordance to the American consider tank, Pew Study Center.

The observe is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, exactly where an approximated 11 p.c of the populace live in polygamous homes.

The proportion in DR Congo is two p.c. Illustrations abound of Congolese men boasting about getting a “second office” that anyone is knowledgeable of — even their 1st wife or husband.

When a video purporting to present a person marrying three females at the exact same time was posted on YouTube last month, the video clip went viral on social media.

It informed the story of a younger Congolese male who supposedly fell in love with a woman who had two glance-alikes that ended up so convincing he ended up marrying all 3.

It was bogus — but viewers seemingly considered the tale.

Some comments pitied the alleged groom. “He is heading to put up with”, wrote a person reviewer. “We will have viewed it all,” reported an additional, while an admirer remarked: “The lad is strong.”

A cinema director from the japanese town of Goma unveiled he was driving the movie, which he suggests was based mostly on a correct story and applied actors to elevate the issue of polygamy.

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– Regular lifestyle –

Every single Sunday, Zagabe describes and praises the merits of polygamy in the Lord’s Primitive Church, which was proven in 1983 and is a single of DR Congo’s numerous spiritual sects.

A couple dozen of his flock eagerly hear to his preaching in Bukavu, the money of South Kivu province, with ladies on one facet of the central aisle and males on the other.

Zagabe’s sermon promises humanity’s tale started out with just one male and a number of ladies. “As an alternative of dwelling in adultery and debauchery, God authorised guy to have various wives,” he informed AFP.

Three of the pastor’s wives stay 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 establishment that goes significantly again in our standard African and Congolese tradition. It is not a divine institution,” reported Raymond Kongolo, a Catholic priest in Bukavu.

DR Congo’s structure and family members code have clearly said due to the fact 1987 that polygamy is an offence, in accordance to Joseph Yav, a law firm and law professor in the southern city of Lubumbashi.

“Relationship in DR Congo is monogamous,” he pressured. But polygamy “is current and practised in Congolese traditions, notwithstanding the formal legal ban”.

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Among Zagabe’s congregation was Kalungu Kalebe, who has two wives and eight youngsters. Alternatively than transgressing the legislation, the 40-yr-aged believes he is “blessed by God”.

“I have to follow David, Abraham and Solomon, who married numerous wives,” he mentioned, referring to Biblical prophets.

Fellow parishioner Nathanaelle, 15, stated she was “all set” to wed a male with other wives. “That doesn’t bother me at all,” she included.

Rakel, just one of Zagabe’s wives, sees the little ones of his other spouses as her very own, in addition to the 3 offspring she has borne him.

Another of Zagabe’s wives, Yaelle, said she lives in harmony with his other spouses. But she seen that neighbours who used to check out her when she was the only spouse in the domestic have due to the fact stopped coming. “They fled from us,” Yaelle stated.

“This polygamy company is a deviation in our society, it really is unthinkable!” mentioned Nicolas Lubala, a 42-yr-outdated Catholic who accuses the Kinshasa-headquartered Primitive Church of “contributing to ethical depravation”.

Mathilde, 23, was very clear that marrying a bigamous guy was “unattainable”. “In polygamy, there are too numerous problems, discord amongst the wives, the little ones,” she stated.

But “if the man has funds and other wives, having hooked up to him just isn’t troubling”.

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