A Court of Appeal Judge has said that women should also pay maintenance to their estranged husbands in the event of a divorce.
Justice Erastus Githinji , in a minority ruling in an unusual alimony case brought in the appellate court, said he was convinced by the need to change the gender roles where men are supposed to pay upkeep to their former wives regardless of who earned more saying its “archaic”.
“It is my humble view that the so-called traditional gender role has been superseded by the provisions of the Constitution and Marriage Act, 2014 and is not a relevant factor in determining whether or not an order for maintenance should be made in favour of a husband,” Justice Githinji’s ruling read in part.
Githinji made the ruling in an appeal filed by a female university lecturer after she was ordered by a High Court judge to pay a Sh 20,000 per month maintenance to her divorced husband on grounds that she earned more than him.
Justices Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohammed however through a majority ruling disagreed with Githinji saying men should not ride on the success of their women.
The judges unanimously reversed the high court ruling.
“It would be against public policy to encourage a situation where a spousal maintenance order is granted to a man for the simple reason that the woman has proved more industrious than the man”.
“The order of maintenance issued in favour of the respondent is nothing more than the sword of Damocles hanging over the appellant’s head to remind her of her failed marriage. Such an order is neither fair nor just,” the two judges stated in the binding ruling.
COURT RULES THAT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO PROVIDE CHILD MAINTENANCE
In a historic ruling last week, Justice Florence Muchemi ruled that a child ought to be maintained by both parents based on their individual capabilities and the needs of the child.
In the case brought before her, a woman was seeking sh 32,000 monthly upkeep from her ex-husband for one of their child whom she had custody to. The man had taken custody of two of their other children.
Justice Muchemi ruled that the child should enjoy food, shelter and clothing from her mother’s pocket, as her other children are being provided for by their father.