Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has asked Njuri Ncheke elders to come up with a flat rate bride price for the Ameru community girls regardless of their level of education.
Speaking during an event in Chuka town, the county boss said some parents were demanding for too much money arguing that their daughters are graduates making it impossible for most of the young men to marry.
He said the culture of the Ameru people has a clear guideline on what the bridegroom’s family should pay as dowry but people no longer follow them.
“Being educated or not, the bride price for all our girls should be equal according to the Ameru community culture,” said Mr Njuki.
He said according to the Ameru traditions, the man’s family was required to pay dowry in form of livestock, traditional brew and honey just as a sign of appreciation and not hundreds of thousands of shillings that some parents are asking turning the whole thing a business and not a ceremony.
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Mr Njuki noted that unfortunately, the parents of the girl do not mind to recognize whether the man is learned or not, disadvantaging his family.
“As parents we need to stop trading with our girls and agree to bless them as they get out to start their families,” appealed the governor.
In October this year, Njuri Ncheke elders led by their Secretary General Josphat Murangiri met with Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and agreed to make laws that will standardise bride price to be paid by Meru and Tharaka Nithi residents.
The elders noted that parents had been exaggerating dowry prices making them too high for the young men marrying their daughters.
Governor Murungi regretted that out of greed, parents had commercialized dowry payment.
Murangiri said that, traditionally, dowry was paid in form of one she-goat or a bundle of miraa (khat), a drum of honey, a heifer, a bull, a ram and a blanket for the girl’s mother and a coat for the girl’s father.
He however noted that the man was allowed to take the lady once the ‘she goat’ or ‘a miraa bundle’ was settled. The rest could be paid in instalments after the couple settled.
He cited a case where a young man was asked to pay Sh1 million shillings as dowry.
Traditionally, in Tharaka, the man’s family was required to pay 48 goats, five cows, a bucket of honey and some containers of traditional brew.
However, on top of the traditionally bride price, some parents now ask as much as Sh500, 000 as reimbursement of school fee.
“Young people have also been citing the high bride price as the stumbling block to starting families. Security,” the OCPD said.