Women Lawyers Association calls on ladies to be careful when choosing partners

Quarrels break out in some families as a consequence of the President’s order for couples to legalize their marriage. First wives ask for the review of the law that governs marriage in Burundi.

Francine Nduwimana: ”Ladies should be careful when choosing a partner”.

Francine Nduwimana: ”Ladies should be careful when choosing a partner”.

Many couples rush to commune offices to marry. The problem arises when the husband has more than one wife and chooses to legalize the union with the second wife not the first. “First wives are many times victims of that legalization.

Many times, they are the ones who have many children and work hard for the family. Their marriage should be legalized”, says Francine Nduwimana, a young woman met in Bujumbura city.

However, Nduwimana says ladies have to be careful when choosing a partner. She says they have to be sure if the man is not having an affair with another woman.

“I am the first woman and have six children, but my husband married another wife. From that time, he stopped helping me”, says Mélanie Nahimana, a saleswoman met in Nyakabiga area. She says her husband married a second wife despite the grinding poverty in the family. She asks the government to review the law that governs marriage. She says children are victims because their fathers forget them once they get married to other women. Mélanie says the government should prohibit husbands from marrying more than one wife.

Sonia Ndikumasabo, the representative of Burundi Women Lawyers’ Association (AFJ) says the Burundian law on marriage does not allow a husband to have several wives. “If a man has many wives, the law says he legalizes the union with one he wants”, she says and advises that it would be better if men had a legalized marriage with their first wives.

According to Sonia, the request of those women is unfounded. It depends upon the husband’s choice and not how many children they have in common or the period of their relationship. “If a lady accepts to live illegally with a man, she should not complain when he marries another one”, she says. Sonia appeals to young ladies to avoid getting engaged to men living with other wives.

The government order comes after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a campaign to “moralize the society” on the 1st of May, 2017.

The spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Térence Ntahiraja, said Burundi is facing a population explosion which he said was due to illegal marriages, polygamy, bigamy and the impregnation of hundreds of schoolgirls. He said a crackdown on informal relationships was needed to combat it.