The Kenya Forum | Money over love: second wife syndrome and polygamy - The Kenya Forum

November 22, 2012


Money over love: second wife syndrome and polygamy. The Forum considers questions like is compatibility as important as money?

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Money over love: second wife syndrome and polygamy

Money over love: second wife syndrome and polygamy

Has the desire for money replaced love for many Kenyan women as the basis for relationships and marriage? Is this Kenya Forum correspondent just old fashioned in thinking that traditionally love was the sole factor that drew a couple together but that of late it appears material wealth has taken over?


“I would rather cry in Runda than laugh in Kibera”, is a popular statement made by a good number of Kenyan women (for non-Kenya readers, Runda is one of the more affluent suburbs in Nairobi while the Kibera is reputedly the largest slum in Africa).

Many Kenyan women it seems now choose a mate with material considerations foremost in their minds, in search of “the good life”, at the expense of everything else, such as love, or even dignity.


Nowadays young girls are getting married to men old enough to be their fathers, forgoing love in exchange for a better material lifestyle. According to these girls, such men are more mature and will pamper them with all the affection and wealth they need unlike the young men who are just out to have fun and haven’t got a shilling in their pockets.


The ‘Second Wife Syndrome’ is also spreading across a wider section of Kenyan women, and not just among less educated women, oh no, there is a new breed of well-educated women who are ready and proud to be wife number two.


Popular singer Linda Muthama was the first celebrity to publicly declare her ‘second wife and proud to be’ status to comedian Walter Mong’are, popularly known as Nyambane, a few years ago.

Last month former beauty queen Cecilia Mwangi, citing inspiration from Linda Muthama, also came out publicly as being the second wife to a popular Member of Parliament whose identity she refused to disclose because it might interfere with his political campaigns as the country gears for elections next year.

But can one really hide anything from Kenyans (except in a book)? Probably not! The long-term affair that the beauty queen referred to turned out to be with Garsen Member of Parliament, Danson Mungatana, apparently one of the ‘hottest’ MPs in Kenya.

The question however was not so much as to the identity of MP concerned but rather just which number wife was Cecilia because a few years ago the same politician had a baby with a top news anchor on one of the Kenya’s leading TV stations.

Unlike in Linda Muthama’s case where the man came out to acknowledge his second wife in public, in Cecilia’s case the ‘husband’ has not commented on the issue which has led to a lot of speculation.

We can be sure that the list of women getting married as ‘second wives’ is a long one and getting longer by the day, even though very few of them will come out in public. This modern form of polygamy in Kenya, it seems, is here to stay.


Although the proposed Marriage Bill 2012 legalises polygamy as long as the provision is maintained by the couple at the onset of their marriage, critics of polygamy have blamed the second wife syndrome in Kenya on laziness on the women’s part.

Many women want a ‘ready-made’ man, sharing responsibility, as it were, with the other ‘wife’, and are not ready to fully submit themselves as the only wife of a man.

Sharon confessed during a discussion on Facebook on the same matter that; “As much as we have enough men in Kenya for every woman, very few men are ready to settle down, so we have to share the few.”

Back to the question of whether this Kenya Forum correspondent is old-fashioned: does Sharon have a valid point, or are many Kenyan women getting their priorities wrong?


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