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What exactly is the worth of a wife?

By By SHIRLEY GENGA | November 25th 2013


How much value does today’s man put on his wife?

KENYA: I ask this question because I was completely baffled when about a week ago male MPs used their numerical advantage to defeat a clause that sought to have matrimonial property shared equally between a husband and wife upon dissolution of a marriage. 

The men in the House ganged up and agreed that upon divorce, property should be shared according to the contribution made by each spouse in the marriage.

And just in case you are wondering how the debt should be divided, the ruling of the day claimed that although the wealth acquired should be divided according to contribution, that the debts acquired should be divided equally among both spouses.


Reasons for their votes included, that women today, were getting married to get rich. And that housework could not be quantified to monetary contribution.

Members also argued that men could not split their wealth because it is unfair on them considering they pay dowry. And while at it, tradition was somehow shamelessly dragged in.

Even as I write this, I continue to be appalled! And in case you think this is just an African man syndrome, think again. Just a while back, a Colorado man, Earl Ray Jones, 52, claimed before a court of law that he converted his life savings with his wife into gold. And threw it all away behind a Colorado Springs motel to prevent his wife, of 25 years, from getting her share in their divorce settlement.

Men are always willing to pay millions in bride price just to have a wife. But for some strange reasons, they seem to forget that women’s contribution in marriages is immense albeit non-financial.

Well, I invite men to come out of the dark ages and overhaul this proposed matrimonial property law.

Donkey work

Today, while men go out to make money, women also go out to do the same, besides the household donkey work they do. Women cook, clean and generally make the house habitable. Plus there is her emotional contribution, giving birth, child-rearing, dealing with problems at school, and providing support for her ungrateful spouse.

In fact, most men become so comfortable when they get married that they do not even remember what it feels like to iron a shirt or even how to wash their own underwear.


As far as I am concerned, for every shilling a man makes, his wife is entitled to half of it because his wife created an enabling home environment for him. And again, if a woman quits her job to stay at home, her man owes her three quarter of everything. Oh yes!

A spouse ought to be compensated for lost earning potential and impaired future earnings. Men often fail to grasp the sacrifice a stay-at-home wife makes. Or the long-term losses that result from her staying out of the labour market.

Being a homemaker is the highest of callings, contrary to what is rammed down our throats by society.

And it should be compensated accordingly, and if you are a man and you don’t believe me, I dare you to be a wife for just one day, and see if you will not feel like you deserve half or even more of the matrimonial property!

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