DO WE STILL HAVE A PLACE FOR POLYGAMY IN TODAYS WORLD?
Polygamy, the practice of numerous marriages, has been around for thousands of years. Although very popular in Africa, the Far East and in Islamic countries, it is frowned upon by the majority of the world's countries. It has, in the last couple of centuries, been prohibited bycountries like Hong Kong, China, and Thailand.
The general accord is that polygamy is morally wrong as it infringes many religious convictionS. And to the non-religious personalities it just feels incorrect. In an important sense, making the non-religious case against polygamy was not anything new for the Western custom. Already the early Greeks and Romans, prior to the dawn of Christianity, had prohibited polygamy for basis
of nature, friendship, domestic effectiveness, political convenience, and more. These non-religious points of view always remained at the establishment of the continuing Western case against polygamy.
The vicious retribution for polygamy included being “branded on the forehead, cheek and tongue with an ‘A’ for adultery,” a ‘B’ for bigamist and “bored through the tongue with a red hot iron” as an expression of the false promise made with the tongue.
John Witte wrote,
“In (1696–1782) of Scotland’s high court warranted monogamy as an expression of equality, “All men are by nature equal in rank; no man is privileged above another to have a wife; and therefore polygamy is contradictory” to the natural right of each person to marry. “Men and women are by nature equal, Home argues at length,” Witte points out. “Monogamous marriage is naturally designed to respect this natural gender equality.” But an equality of a different sort can also be established through allowing each person to have as many spouses as agree to marriage. Although rejecting revealed theology, David Hume argued against polygamy as
fostering jealousy and competition among wives, as well as leaving many children without proper paternal investment. The relationship between husband and wife is poisoned as the husband seeks new wives and each wife comes to be viewed as a replaceable commodity rather than an irreplaceable lover and friend.”
Times are shifting
Yes, the practice of polygamy has been a custom, particularly in African tribes, where it was seen as a sign of authority and riches, but times have shifted. Today, the signs of affluence and authority are very diverse. Successful figures drive luxurious
Mercs and BMWs, escorted by "blue light brigades".
They have massive mansions with exceptional security and bodyguards. They are able to break laws and get away with bribery, fraud and corruption without going to court. It would make sense that having multiple wives is no longer the sign of wealth and power that it once was and could merely be an excuse to "get action".
Then we have HIV/Aids. Studies have shown that polygamy accelerates the spread of HIV/Aids. This is very evident in Swaziland, where a large number of people practice polygamy and the HIV rate is one of the highest in the world. With HIV spreading rapidly in South Africa, we should be doing everything to stop this from happening.As mentioned above, polygamy is frowned upon by most of the world's countries.
How would other countries react to a polygamist president when they morally and religiously oppose this practice? Will other leaders show the same respect to polygamist leaders than to monogamist leaders?
Is there peace at the polygamy home?
John Witte had these to say,
“Rivalry among co-wives, hatred among half-siblings, disputes over inheritance, and even war. As Witte notes, “The Hebrew word for a co-wife (tzarah) literally means ‘trouble’.” He continues, “royal Greek polygamists had the same bitter experiences with polygamy that befell the Old Testament polygamists.” Wives hated each other and sought preeminence for themselves and their own children, half-sibling rivals hated each other, and stepmothers and stepchildren hated each other most intensely of all. Painful experience brought Athens and Jerusalem to the same conclusion.”
The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women says polygamy ought to be discouraged and banned since such marriages are imbalanced and have unconstructive emotional and economic impacts on women and children.
But men have taken numerous wives for centuries, referring to the need to have a huge family to help with farm labour and to guarantee offspring if children die or one spouse is infertile.
A larger family was also by tradition seen as a foundation of pride, prosperity and high social status and protective for women in traditions where they cannot own assets like land. Regardless of rising modernity and awareness of women's rights, polygamy remains legal in most African nations and is widespread across society, from farmers to senior politicians, such as former South African President Jacob Zuma who has had six wives.
But for polygamy to work, women ought to buy into the practice and the husband should have adequate income to look after all of them and their offspring. Yet this is not always the case. In Kenya, a wife's approval is not legally obligatory for husbands to marry yet again, and men are frequently incapable to adequately provide for them.
Almost 43 percent of families where the man is in a polygamous union are unfortunate compared to 27 percent of those in monogamous unions, says the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Poverty reaches 46 percent in families where the woman is married to a polygamous man who does not live with her, it says. "Survival sex"
With most Kenyan women already poorer than men, single mothers frequently struggle to provide schooling, food, health care and protection for their children. As a consequence, their offspring are more vulnerable to diseases, from malaria to malnutrition,
less likely to complete school or get employment, and at higher risk of early marriage, sexual exploitation or forced labor.
"There are a bunch of factors which contribute to child susceptibility - but from experience it is clear that poverty is one of the prime.
Children who are in single-parent family circle are more susceptible and it can push them into many forms of exploitation.
From Kenya's slums to its palm-fringed seashores, thousands of children are having "survival sex" for as little as a piece of Mandazi, a piece of fish or even just a ride home.
In loads of cases there is a connection to polygamy. "My father took an additional wife and my mother, I and my siblings had to go away," said 21-year-old Chepngeno who began sex occupation in the beach resort of Diani when she was 14. "I had to give up school and assisted at home. I begun doing this as there was not anything else for me to do to get some cash," she said.
Women campaigners called for the regime administration to implement a law to register customary polygamous marriages, so that women would have authorized proof of the marriage -making it easier for them to claim child maintenance or the husband's assets or property.
If the law is put into operation and women are given their entitlements, things will slowly change and greater social responsiveness will ultimately see polygamy dying out."